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
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
The greatest need for donors is at our 40 permanent locations across the
country. Information about clinic location and hours can be found at blood.ca,
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
Alberta & Northwest Territories
Saskatchewan, Manitoba &
Thunder Bay (Ontario)
North/East Ontario & Nunavut
Ottawa, Kingston, Sudbury
Hamilton, St. Catharines, Kitchener-Waterloo, Guelph, Burlington
London, Sarnia, Windsor
Greater Toronto Area, Barrie & Peterborough
Newfoundland & Labrador
Nova Scotia & Prince Edward Island
For further information:
For further information: Ron Vezina, Director, Media Relations and
External Communications, (613) 739-2044, cell (613) 715-0199