Give blood, donors urged

THE district’s residents are being asked to donate much-needed blood as stocks run dangerously low across Northern Ireland.

The Blood Tranfusion Service will visit the Cathedral Church Hall in Dromore tomorrow (Wednesday) and the Methodist Church Hall in Banbridge on March 5 and 6.

Since an appeal for more donors to come forward earlier this month, the transfusion service has been pleased with the response but added that more blood donations are always welcome.

Blood groups O-positive, A-positive and A-negative were reaching critical levels after the Christmas and New Year period and Paul McElkerney, spokesperson from the service said they have been pleased with the response.

“We have had a great response which has replenished much of our supply, but it’s our hope the response continues,” said Mr McElkerney.

Paul, who explained that in the first weeks of January there was as little as two days’ supply remaining, said, “It’s not often our stocks reach such a critical level.”

He said two main factors were to blame. During the festive period people are often busy and so donating blood is sometimes forgotten about and this, coupled with the fact that December saw an increase in hospital usage of blood, left supplies running low.

Each week in Northern Ireland 500 patients receive blood, with a large proportion going to cancer patients and trauma patients, such as those injured in road traffic accidents. The remainder is used for routine operations and procedures such as child birth.

In urging people to come forward to donate blood, Paul says it’s important not to worry about the procedure. “If you eat something before you come in and try not to worry, you should leave feeling spot on.”

As for what happens if we run out of blood – Paul is quite adamant this is simply not an option. The consistent work of NIBTS ensures supplies never run out. It is responsible for the collection, testing and distribution of over 64,000 blood donations each year in this vital area of health care. 

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