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High covid rates spark blood supply ‘crisis’

NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT) which supplies blood to hospitals is reporting severe supply shortages for the first time since 2018, HSJ has learned.

Well-placed senior sources said it is close to issuing a formal “amber alert”, which would mean it could not guarantee blood supplies to hospitals, they said. NHSBT acknowledged to HSJ that it was “expecting a difficult few months”.

NHS trusts would have to start cancelling elective operations if they cannot ensure that necessary bloods are available. NHSBT has already written to trusts asking them not to over-order supplies, and to ensure management plans are in place should the situation escalate.

Supplies of the common O blood types are thought to be down to less than three days’ worth. If they were to drop to two days, this would trigger an amber alert.

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Source: HSJ, 5 July 2022


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