Illness hits blood stocks

The donor drop-off prompted the Blood Service to issue a call for 1600 more West Australian donors over the next month, with 80 needed at the Morley centre, to help keep blood supplies well stocked as winter approaches.

Data from the Department of Health showed a national 60 per cent increase in influenza cases year-to-date compared to the same period last year.

The figures matched Blood Service call centre data that showed up to 1000 appointments a week were cancelled or scheduled because donors were unwell, most reporting cold or flu-like symptoms.

Blood Service spokeswoman Jessica Willet said the ‘extraordinary’ number of cancellations could have a worrying impact on blood supplies.

‘It really has impacted our forward appointments, which means we need more donors to roll up their sleeves and take the place of those who can’t donate,’ Ms Willet said.

‘The need for blood never takes a break and we now need around 1600 extra donors over the next four weeks to help WA enter the winter period with a solid supply of blood.

‘Our biggest concern is that flu season hasn’t event peaked, and so it will be difficult to attract new donors if we leave it too late.’

To donate blood, call 13 14 95 or go to donateblood.com.au