Hospital patients need your help now

    40 per cent drop in inventory forces rationing of hospital blood
    supply - more donors needed urgently

    OTTAWA, Oct. 29 /CNW Telbec/ - In the last two months the national blood
inventory - our emergency reserve - has dropped by more than 40 per cent. On
Tuesday, it had dropped to two days on hand for the most common blood types.
    While patients' needs for emergencies are being met, the reduced
availability of blood is challenging some hospitals' ability to serve the
needs of elective or routine patients. Hospitals may have to resort to delays
in treatment or postponement of elective surgery if the situation does not
reverse itself soon.
    Canadian Blood Services has increased its recruitment efforts but demand
is still outpacing supply. This means Canadian Blood Services has drawn down
on its inventory and rationed its blood shipments to hospitals.
    "It may surprise Canadians to know that even in good times, we only carry
four to six days' supply of blood to meet the entire country's needs," says
Dr. Graham Sher, CEO of Canadian Blood Services. "Right now, for the most
critical blood types, we are hovering around a two-day supply. This puts the
blood system, and Canadians who depend on it, in a vulnerable position. Simply
put, we need more donors now."
    It is estimated that about one in two Canadians can give blood. However
this year, only one in 60 actually has.
    Keeping a reserve of blood that can be used in case of emergencies or
natural disasters is the cornerstone of a safe blood system. Because of our
current collections challenge, that cornerstone is eroding.
    Deeply rooted in the challenge is the need to grow the list of active
blood donors in this country.
    "Active Canadian blood donors, those who have donated at least once in
the past 12 months, are some of the most generous in the world. The problem
is, there are too few of them to meet the growing need for blood," says
Dr. Sher.
    In the last three fiscal years, the need for blood for hospital patients
has gone up by more than 3 per cent - climbing to nearly 850,000 units of
blood needed per year.
    In an effort to increase donations from new and existing donors, Canadian
Blood Services is calling on all eligible Canadians to make an appointment to
donate blood.
    The greatest need for donors is at our 40 permanent locations across the
country. Information about clinic location and hours can be found at,
or by calling 1 888 2 DONATE. Please call today and book an appointment to
save a life.

    By the numbers:

        - 1 in 2 Canadians say that they or a family member has required
        - 1 in 2 Canadians can give blood
        - 1 in 60 actually has given blood in the past year
        - There are 400,000 active blood donors in Canada
        - Over 90,000 donors are required each and every month to keep up
          with hospital demand
        - In the last three years, hospital demand is up 3.3 per cent, yet
          the number of donors has decreased by 0.7%
        - Donors can give every 56 days
        - A cancer patient can require up to eight units of blood weekly
        - A liver transplant may need up to 50 units of blood

    To localize this story, please connect with the following regional

    British Columbia & Yukon
    Angie Gaddy
    Tel: 604-707-3447
    Cell: 778-227-4721
    Fax: 604-707-3446
    Angela Wiebe
    Tel: 604-707-3469
    Cell: 604-787-3247
    Fax: 604-707-3446

    Alberta & Northwest Territories
    Bonnie Monteith
    Tel: 403-410-2678
    Cell: 403-589-3411
    Fax: 403-410-2793
    Candace Korchinsky
    Tel: 780-431-8741
    Cel: 780-982-2068
    Fax: 780-431-0461

    Saskatchewan, Manitoba &
    Thunder Bay (Ontario)
    Michael Hyduk
    Tel: 204-789-1066
    Cell: 204-794-5358
    Fax: 204-775-9215

    North/East Ontario & Nunavut
    Ottawa, Kingston, Sudbury
    Pierre Campeau
    Tel: 613-560-7219
    Cell: 613.858.4934
    Fax: 613-560-7155

    Southern Ontario
    Hamilton, St. Catharines, Kitchener-Waterloo, Guelph, Burlington
    Veronica Magee
    Tel: 905-645-6333
    Cell: 905-520-5593
    Fax: 905-540-5801

    London, Sarnia, Windsor
    Cindy Graham
    Tel: 905-645-6578
    Cell: 905-869-5988
    Fax: 905-540-5801

    Central Ontario
    Greater Toronto Area, Barrie & Peterborough
    John Bromley
    Tel: 416-313-4438
    Cell: 416-573-2172
    Fax: 416-597-2532
    Tami Clark
    Tel: 705-730-1785
    Cell: 705-627-8918

    New Brunswick
    Amanda Cullen
    Tel: 506-648-5008
    Cell: 506-333-3840
    Fax: 506-648-5077

    Newfoundland & Labrador
    Paul McGrath
    Tel: 709-758-8075
    Cell: 709-690-0484
    Fax: 709-758-5324

    Nova Scotia & Prince Edward Island
    Jillian Brown
    Tel: 902-474-8239
    Fax: 902-474-8206

For further information:

For further information: Ron Vezina, Director, Media Relations and
External Communications, (613) 739-2044, cell (613) 715-0199

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Canadian Blood Services

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