Darren Morrissey, Carrigaline and Pat Corbett, Mitchelstown pictured at the Irish Blood Transfusion Munster Donor Awards in 2018. (Picture: John Sheehan)

The Irish Blood Transfusion Service is making a renewed appeal for blood donors following the announcement that the service is importing blood supplies from the UK in the recent days because of a shortage of certain blood types.

The service is running clinics in The Firgrove Hotel in Mitchelstown on the 13th, 14th, and 15th of July from 3.45pm to 7.40pm, by appointment.

The IBTS made the announcement on 30th June that they would be importing O negative, A negative, and B negative blood from Manchester. While the the IBTS does occasionally import a small number of rare blood units, they have not needed to import blood in bulk since the late 1990s.

Brenda Tagney, speaking to The Avondhu on behalf of The Firgrove Hotel, explained how they’ve held the clinics in the hotel for a number of years, with many regular donors coming time and again.

“The clinics are very busy. We see a lot of regulars, the same people come back over and over again. It’s all very discreet and very professionally done.

“It takes about 30 minutes – you do a questionnaire, they take a sample, and then the actual procedure takes maybe 5 minutes. There’s no great fuss – we haven’t had to carry anyone out yet,” she quipped.

Dr Stephen Field, Medical & Scientific Director, noted that worldwide donations were down since the outbreak of Covid-19, but urged the public to donate if they can, particularly if they have a negative blood type.

“Since moving to an appointment based system in March of last year, donors have been incredible in their support throughout the pandemic. However, it has been increasingly difficult to keep the blood supply at the level we need as the summer progresses. 

“The IBTS is not unique in this regard as many blood services around the world are also reporting shortages. Stocks of the main Rh Negative blood groups are under particular pressure, especially O negative which is considered the universal blood group and is always in demand.  

“It has been a very tough 15 months for everyone but as hospitals increase their levels of activity, the demand for blood is as great as ever and we are urging donors, especially those with Rh Negative blood groups, to make an appointment to give blood over the summer months. If you receive a text message from us, please respond to the number provided to make an appointment,” he added.

You can book a clinic appointment online at giveblood.ie where a list of all clinic locations and dates is provided.