Blood stocks: amber alert issued – existing O Neg and O Pos donors asked to make appointments at Liverpool Donor Centre

By Mark Gorton

12th Oct 2022 | Local News

O blood groups are in particular need
O blood groups are in particular need

NHS Blood and Transplant has triggered an "amber alert" – which came into force today - meaning hospitals have been asked to put in place management plans to protect blood stocks. This could mean postponing some non-urgent elective surgeries to ensure blood is prioritised for patients who need it most. 

NHSBT is urging donors to help by filling empty appointments at permanent donor centres in towns and cities which have extended hours and greater capacity. O blood groups are in particular need. Go to blood.co.uk or use the blood app to check appointment availability. Each donation can save or improve up to three lives. 

Decisions will be taken by individual hospitals but the types of surgery that could be postponed are non-urgent such as hip replacements which make up around one per cent of all surgery. These could be swapped for other surgeries such as hernia repairs, gall-bladder removal and eye surgery which do not require blood to be on standby. 

Hospitals will continue to carry out any urgent, emergency or trauma surgery, cancer surgery, transplant surgery and blood transfusions to treat people with long term conditions.  

The amber alert will last initially for four weeks which should enable blood stocks to be rebuilt. 

NHS Blood and Transplant aims to hold above six days of blood stocks, however levels are currently predicted to fall below two days which is the threshold for an amber alert. 

Wendy Clark, Interim Chief Executive of NHS Blood and Transplant said: "Asking hospitals to limit their use of blood is not a step we take lightly. This is a vital measure to protect patients who need blood the most."  

Maintaining blood stocks has been an ongoing challenge in the aftermath of the pandemic primarily due to staff shortages and sickness but also due to a change in donor behaviour as people are less likely to visit collection centres in towns and cities.

The amber alert will last initially for four weeks which should enable blood stocks to be rebuilt. 

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