Sheffield Blood Centre inundated with appointments following NHS blood shortage
The Sheffield Blood Centre has received a huge spike in appointments to donate as the NHS Blood and Transplant’s amber alert warned that stocks were running critically low in England.
More than 10,000 appointments have been booked across the UK following the NHS’ call to action on Wednesday.
A representative from Sheffield Blood Donor Centre said: “We are completely full this week and possibly next week as well. Lots of people have dropped in.”
Following the alert, more than 166,000 people visited the blood.co.uk website, the most since the pandemic began.
An NHSBT official told the BBC: “This is an amazing response from the public, and we have been reminded in the last 24 hours of the incredible goodwill and spirit of the public towards helping patients in times of great difficulty.”
The initial alert meant that hospitals had 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.
The NHSBT usually has six days’ worth of blood to use for operations and transfusions, but levels are currently due to fall below two.
Wendy Clark, Interim Chief Executive of NHBT, 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.
“Patients are our focus. I sincerely apologise to those patients who may see their surgery postponed because of this.”
Reports show that members of the O blood groups are in particular need.
Following the surge in appointments, the NHSBT said: “If you can’t make an appointment now, please come back to us in a few weeks – we need to supply hospitals with blood every day of the year.”
The amber alert will last initially for four weeks which should enable blood stocks to be rebuilt.
Visit blood.co.uk or call 0300 123 23 23 to check where appointments are available.