AUSTRALIAN Red Cross Lifeblood urgently needs an extra 7000 people to donate blood over the next fortnight and is urging donors to keep their appointments as cancellations and no-shows rise.
As lockdowns lift in Victoria, New South Wales and ACT, elective surgeries recommence, and with experts concerned about a spike in road trauma, Lifeblood is asking people to make saving lives part of their new normal.
It's estimated Bendigo, in central Victoria, needs 289 blood and plasma donors over the next fortnight to ensure a healthy supply.
Blood demand is at a 10-year high, and reserves of O Negative blood are also being challenged, with the number of donors down during the pandemic.
Executive director of donor services Cath Stone said half of all blood donation appointments were not being attended, while hospital demand was at its highest point in a decade.
"Our donors have shown us incredible support over the last two years, however as life moves to COVID-normal, it's important that people continue to donate to help ensure hospitals can continue to treat patients. Those patients need the generosity of blood donors right now," she said.
In particular, Lifeblood's reserves of O Negative blood are being challenged, with the number of O Negative donors falling during the pandemic despite increased hospital demand.
O Negative is the universal blood type and can be given to anyone in an emergency when there simply isn't time to find out their blood type.
"Only nine per cent of Australians have O Negative blood, but it makes up 16 per cent of orders from hospitals because it saves lives in emergencies," Ms Stone said.
"We currently have 1000 fewer active O Negative donors than we did over a year ago and we would particularly like to welcome those previous donors back to our donor centres.
"If you are feeling well, not waiting on a COVID-19 test and haven't been told to isolate please book a donation.
"With one in three of us needing donated blood or blood products in our lifetime, the life you save could be that of a friend or family member."
To book a donation visit lifeblood.com.au, call 13 14 95 or download the free DonateBlood App.
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