Donors flow into Sale blood bus

AUSTRALIAN Red Cross mobile donor blood bus bookings in Sale have been strong — so much so that some donors turning up unannounced are being encouraged to return when it’s less busy.

The bus has been in Sale for the past fortnight, with generous donors visiting the bus to roll up their sleeves and give blood to help save lives. 

A Red Cross spokeswoman said certain times of the day, particularly evening sessions, had been more popular for blood donors than other times of the day.

“These popular times often fill up quickly, and during these sessions we need to honour the appointments donors have already booked in our system,” she said. 

“This means donors who turn up without an appointment may be unable to donate at that specific time — however we do try to make them an appointment for another time.” 

Blood bus hours have recently been changed reflect the popularity of evenings and provide donors with more options during that time, while reducing hours during less popular times. 

“While certain times are more popular, we have also found the first week of our visits to the area are usually well subscribed, however the remainder of the visits often have more availability,” the spokesperson said.

The willingness of donors to contribute to blood stocks is reflected across Australia.

Red Cross’ 2016-17 annual report said despite an ever-changing demand for blood, it had met the needs of Australian patients.

“For 357 days in 2016-17, our inventory was within the levels required to comfortably meet the requirement for blood products” the report stated.

The annual report also noted the nation’s demand for plasma, used in the manufacture of immunoglobulin products, continued to grow.

Plasma is used in numerous medical interventions, including fighting infection during bone marrow transplants, preventing blood clots in patients with rare blood disorders, helping stop critical bleeding, and treating complications from severe burns.

“… the domestic supply of plasma has not kept pace with demand, and we see this as an opportunity for the blood service and donors to make an even greater contribution,” the report read.

The first pilot plasma-only donor centre in the southern hemisphere opened in Townsville in 2017, and a second opened early this year in Canberra.

The only permanent blood donor centre in Gippsland is in Traralgon, which also takes plasma, but its location is too far away for many potential plasma donors in east Gippsland. 

The Gippsland Times asked Red Cross if it was considering re-establishing a permanent donor centre in Sale or Bairnsdale.

The question was not responded to.

The blood donor bus has been in Sale the past couple of weeks, and will return in June.

For more information, or to make an appointment, phone 13 14 95 or visit donateblood.com.au.