Published: 14 June 2021
Every year countries around the world celebrate World Blood Donor Day. The event serves to raise awareness of the need for safe blood and blood products and to thank voluntary, unpaid blood donors for their life-saving gifts of blood.
The slogan for this year's World Blood Donor Day is 'Give blood and keep the world-beating'. The message conveys the essential contribution of blood donors to save lives.
As a frontline essential service, it is vital that the Irish Blood Transfusion Service (IBTS) continues to collect enough blood and platelets to maintain the supplies to our hospitals during the COVID-19 pandemic. Hospital demand is now back at pre-COVID levels, so it is important that donation clinics collect enough blood each week.
In keeping with public health guidelines, the IBTS is working to constantly ensure that staff, donors, and patients are kept as safe as possible. To achieve this, it is asking all donors to make an appointment to attend blood donor clinics.
To find your nearest blood donor clinic, check out www.giveblood.ie
Blood Bike volunteers
While blood donors are so vital to the system, the volunteers of the various Blood Bike organisations around the country play a massive role in rapidly getting the blood to those in need.
“Since last week and over the bank holiday weekend, we have completed in excess of 170 calls for hospitals, medical centres, residential homes, COVID-19 pop-up centres, City West Vaccination Centre, the National Ambulance Service, HSE quarantine sites, National Blood Centre, covering Drogheda, Mullingar, Portlaoise, Dublin, Kildare, Wexford, Tullamore,” explained one of the volunteers with Blood Bikes Leinster.
The Blood Bikes teams work alongside the HSE and National Ambulance Service providing transportation and collection for urgently needed blood, blood products, patient records, drugs and other medical requirements, as well as COVID-19 swabs, between hospitals and other medical facilities.
He said that the cyber-attack on the HSE IT system has made it a lot busier for the service.
"More resources have been put into action, and many thanks to the volunteers who have stepped up, making sure patients are not put at risk. We supply a transport service to the hospitals making sure scans and other related medical requirements which can no longer be done remotely, get delivered by hand to the consultants as quick as possible. It is about being flexible and adapt to what is required at a moment’s notice,” he said.
A specialised oncology collection service is available for patients of St Johns Ward in Crumlin Children's Hospital, the home service is the collection of blood samples direct from the home of the patient and transported to the lab at Crumlin Hospital for analysis, this service is by prior arrangement only; these are just some of the services Blood Bikes offer.