Australian Red Cross Lifeblood 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, surgeries recommence, and with experts concerned about a spike in road trauma as roads return to normal in eastern states, Lifeblood is asking people to make saving lives part of their new normal.
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," Ms Stone said.
"There is no alternative for patients in need of blood and we'd like to remind donors, and anyone who has thought about becoming a donor, just how critical they are. They are literally saving lives."
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 like those involved in road accidents, 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 1,000 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.
"We have extended opening hours in our centres and have more appointments available for donors than ever before. 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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