Blood donation services appealing for donors as supplies run "critically low" in Ireland

Due to the strain on Ireland’s health service over recent months, the IBTS is warning that blood banks are running severely low.

A photo of someone donating to help increase blood supplies.
Image: Via Twitter: @Openly

The Irish Blood Transfusion Service (IBTS) is appealing for donations as blood supplies across all types are running alarmingly low. The organisation has said that reserves in some groups have dropped to just three days’ worth when the organisation usually attempts to have a continuous seven days’ stock.

This follows the decision by the service to discard sexuality-based constraints on the potential donor pool, ensuring that more people are welcome to donate.

Director of Donor Services and Logistics, Paul McKinney, has said that “Hospitals have been experiencing extreme pressures recently and there has been a sustained high demand for blood.”

He continued by saying that blood supplies have depleted due to “the recent high level of respiratory illness in the community,” adding that “as a result, we are running critically low across all blood groups.

“In order to avoid putting further pressure on our hospital system, we need as many donors as possible to attend donation clinics over the coming days.”

The IBTS maintains that they are grateful to those who have donated blood over the recent difficult months, and anyone who wishes to register to donate should visit The Irish Blood Transfusion Service is running additional clinics this Sunday, January 29 in Kilkenny, Clare and Dublin.

In November 2022, the IBTS announced that it would no longer impose sexuality-based restrictions in its donation guidelines. As of now, potential donors’ viabilities are evaluated on a person-by-person basis. Traditionally the former restrictions mainly impacted gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men (gbMSM) and trans individuals.

The recent overhaul in sexuality-based limitations on the donor pool means that even more people are eligible to donate. The Individual Donor Risk Assessment programme is welcoming all potential donors, regardless of sexuality or gender identity.

Despite this, there are still other reasons that will exclude someone from donating blood. For example, engaging in chemsex, or anal sex with new or multiple partners; though this stipulation is no longer exclusive to gbMSM or trans individuals. Those who have been diagnosed with syphilis or gonorrhoea, as well as HIV-positive folk and their partners are also unable to contribute.

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