The Irish Blood Transfusion Service (IBTS) will not be accepting blood donations from frontline health care workers who work with Covid-19 patients over the next three months, this newspaper has learned. The deferral comes in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.
“If the donor is a front-line health care worker (HCW) who comes into direct contact with patients, on an ongoing basis, such as medical and nursing staff who work in Intensive Care Units or Covid-19 designated wards, defer for 3 months,” according to the “relevant deferral” sent to the Medical Independent (MI) by a IBTS spokesperson today (27 March).
On Wednesday (25 March) the IBTS announced plans to introduce an appointments system at blood donation clinics to maintain blood supply and to support physical distancing
The IBTS announced details of changes to their blood donation clinics in order to continue collecting blood to meet patient demand while ensuring the safety of donors attending clinics.
“We are asking donors to make appointments so that we can manage attendance to ensure maximum social distancing while attending a clinic. These arrangements will come into effect on Monday 30 March. In spite of Covid 19, we still need to collect about 80 per cent of our normal supply. Cancer patients, transplant cases, trauma and others with conditions that require ongoing support with blood components rely on blood donors as much as ever,” said IBTS Chief Executive Mr Andy Kelly.
“Donors will be triaged before committing to an appointment and will be met at the clinic and pre-assessed again before proceeding to donate. Social distancing will be maintained throughout the process and clinic staff have been trained to minimise the risk to donors.
“We would also ask that those who make an appointment keep it so that there is a sustainable blood supply. We are grateful for the support donors have given so far and the blood supply at this time remains good, however the need for blood donations is ongoing and we are now planning for the weeks ahead.”