BLOOD donations have fallen by over a quarter in Jersey since the pandemic, but the Health Department has reassured Islanders that medical advances mean stocks are not running low.
Donations have dropped steadily since the lockdown but there is less demand than in previous years, owing to a reduction in the amount of blood needed to treat each patient.
A freedom of information request response highlighted that in 2019 there were 1,963 blood donors in the Island, but in 2020 the total dropped to 1,718, followed by a fall to 1,531 donors in 2021. This year until October the total number of donors was 1,445.
James Mason, general manager for medical services, said: ‘Although Covid did result in fewer blood donors this has not resulted in a shortage in blood and we have enough supplies. This is in part due to the fact that patient blood management – a set of medical practices designed to improve the care of patients who might need a blood transfusion – has improved over time, which means that the amount of blood we use in Jersey has fallen.’
Mr Mason added: ‘Medical advances also mean that there is a move towards single-unit transfusions, so patients who require a transfusion require less blood than previously.’
However, in the UK blood stocks have been ‘critically low’ since October and there are calls for donors there to come forward ‘urgently’, with blood-type O being in the greatest demand because anyone, whatever their blood type, can receive the red cells from these donors.
Mr Mason said: ‘I would like to reassure Islanders that we do not have any issues with blood stocks on the Island.’
He thanked Islanders who donated blood for their vital contribution: ‘We are very grateful to the Islanders who generously donate their blood. It’s a simple act that can save someone’s life.’
He added: ‘We always welcome new donors to replace our donors who retire or who can no longer donate.’
Anyone who would like to donate can register online at: gov.je/Health/Hospitals/HospitalDepartments/pages/donatingblood.aspx.