Novocastrians urged to donate blood as stocks continue to drop

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Novocastrians are being urged to donate blood to restore record-low stock.

The Australian Red Cross Lifeblood says it has 300 appointments it needs to fill at its Maitland and Newcastle donor centres immediately.

The call out joins an urgent appeal for 16,000 additional people to give blood or plasma during the next two weeks.

Australian Red Cross Lifeline spokesperson Jemma Falkenmire says the city’s O+ and A+ blood has now dropped to two days’ supply, meaning stocks of Australia’s two most common blood types are under real pressure. 

“O+ and A+ make up around 70% of the population, so many mistakenly think it’s only rare groups in demand, but these groups are also 70% of patients in hospitals,” she says.

“Throughout November we have seen a lot of donors cancelling or not attending their appointments.

“Demand for blood has increased nationally by about 7%. These are unprecedented times and it’s difficult to say why the drop off.”

Ms Falkenmire says 31,000 donations are needed every week in Australia.

“The nation’s largest users of blood are cancer patients but we also need blood to treat trauma and surgery patients, new mothers, those with blood disorders such as haemophilia, and even to help COVID-19 patients,” she says.

“Donating blood takes just one hour of your time and we can not save lives without people volunteering to roll up their sleeves. 

“As well as a health check and a milk shake, you’ll get to save three lives, and all with your feet up on a comfy chair.”

Lifeblood Executive Director Cath Stone adds new donors are always welcome.

“We saw the absolute best of the community throughout the pandemic, with donors continuing to come in, however, this recent trend of decreasing appointments and increasing cancellations is concerning,” she says.

“We want to thank everyone who has continued to step up and donate during COVID-19, however, the need for blood and blood products never stops, so we urge those who can to make blood or plasma donation part of their ‘new normal’.  

“Even if you don’t know what blood type you have, we still need you – we need all blood types every day.

“Blood donation is essential. Our donor centres are safe to visit, with strict social distancing, cleaning and donor eligibility measures still in place. 

“Only healthy people are eligible to give blood and we have introduced even more stringent wellness checks prior to appointments, including temperature checking.”

To book a blood or plasma donation, visit the Lifeblood website, call 13 14 95 or download the Donate Blood app.