Lifeblood is appealing for blood donors due to shortfall from coronavirus

Lifesaving work: Nurse Katie tends a donor at Lifeblood's The Shire Donor Centre, Miranda. Picture: Supplied
Lifesaving work: Nurse Katie tends a donor at Lifeblood's The Shire Donor Centre, Miranda. Picture: Supplied

The Australian Red Cross has put out an urgent call for new and existing blood donors to help address a shortfall caused by coronavirus.

About half the number of blood and plasma donations as is needed is currently being collected, according to the Red Cross's blood donation arm Lifeblood, which said the emergence of the novel coronavirus could put the nation's blood supply under pressure.

Existing and new donors are being called on to make a donation, with rarer blood types, including people from Polynesian, Maori and Filipino backgrounds, especially sought after.

"Every week across Australia, we need to collect around 29,000 blood and plasma donations," said Lifeblood chief executive Shelly Park.

"Right now, we have 14,000 appointments that need to be filled over the next few weeks as we work to continue providing life-saving blood and blood products to Australian patients."

Ms Park said while the Easter period was a time when many regular donors took a break, the need for blood never stopped.

"Last-minute cancellations are putting a dent in blood stocks at a time when donors are in urgent need," she said.

"As we all know, there is no substitute for blood. It is a critical resource and right now, we need more people booking appointments to donate.

"Blood is needed every day by Australian patients including road trauma patients, surgical patients, medical and orthopaedic patients, pregnant mums and cancer patients."

Ms Park moved to reassure donors that there was no evidence coronavirus was transmittable by blood transfusion, and "robust processes" had been put in place by Lifeblood "to ensure the safety of the blood supply and our donors".

"We don't allow people who are unwell to donate blood. Our donor centres are safe places to visit and we will take all necessary steps to ensure that stays the case," she said.

"To ensure there is a sufficient blood supply, we are appealing to donors to keep their appointments if well and healthy, and are inviting new donors or those who haven't donated for a while to come forward to help us.

"If you are a donor and haven't made your next appointment, you can help us be prepared by booking one in the next few weeks.

"And if you have never donated before, now is a great time to become a donor and help us maintain the nation's blood supplies. This is your opportunity to give the gift of life to another."

To make an appointment to give blood phone 13 14 95 or click here.

This story Blood donation shortfall first appeared on St George & Sutherland Shire Leader.