The National Health Service’s Blood & Transplant service (NHSBT) has issued its first-ever amber alert as red cell supplies have dropped to a dangerous low. The decision was made on October 12 - and it has asked hospitals to take action with immediate effect.
According to The Sunday Times, hospital trusts have been asked to implement their Emergency Blood Management Arrangements by Friday, October 14, at the latest. Supplies are at such a low that the NHSBT is expecting red cell stock levels to drop below the two-day threshold.
An alert at the top of the NHSBT website says: ”Stocks of blood are critically low. We need you right now so we can get lifesaving blood to people in need.”
It is said the alert will be removed when stock returns to a sustainable level, but it is anticipated this will be at least four weeks away. The alert will have a whole host of knock-on effects, including the postponement of operations which are likely to require blood donor support.
The number of transfusions is also set to be reduced, with only patients in elected categories - one and two - to be considered. The NHSBT has called for urgent donations from the public, with a specific focus on group O donors.
Blood donations can be arranged and given at the nearest donation centre, with 25 main hubs dotted around the country. To find out where your most local centre is, visit the NHS Give Blood website.