Blood bank bosses in the north and north-east are urging people to make a special effort to donate in the coming weeks as stocks begin to dip.
The resumption of routine hospital procedures coupled with increased demand at A&E has resulted in demand for blood jumping by 10% since Level 0 Covid restrictions were lifted.
It means supplies of O+ and O- blood groups have dipped to just four days worth while teams aim to always keep a minimum of six days in supply.
Blood bank bosses have now increased capacity at both Aberdeen and Inverness donor centres to boost stocks while urging people to make an effort to donate.
Why are supplies running low?
A&E departments across the country are experiencing a surge in demand as lockdown restrictions ease.
A trend of patients arriving with a more urgent need for treatment has also been reported.
Meanwhile, blood bank donor sessions continue to operate with capacity restrictions due to social distancing still being required in healthcare environments.
And some previously regular venues still remain unavailable due to them being used for Covid vaccination clinics while others, including schools, cannot be booked to minimise the risk of spreading the virus.
The blood bank has now created new Friday sessions in both Aberdeen and Inverness to try and create space to meet the extra demand.
Dr Sylvia Armstrong-Fisher, head of donor services in the north, said: “We always have a great response from Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire when we ask them to come and donate.
“We aim to maintain health stocks of between five and 10 days and we’ve dipped below that at the moment – so we are asking people to make that extra special effort to come out at the moment.”
Special plea for O+ and O- donors
The blood bank has issued a particularly urgent call for O+ and O- groups to attend and donate.
Supplies of the groups are particularly low at the moment with both being particularly vital.
Are you 𝗴𝗿𝗼𝘂𝗽 𝗢 and able to travel to your nearest donor centre? 𝙒𝙚 𝙧𝙚𝙖𝙡𝙡𝙮 𝙣𝙚𝙚𝙙 𝙮𝙤𝙪! We aim to retain 6 days of stocks at any time and both O groups are currently below this level. With increased capacity at all donor centres, we would love to welcome you. pic.twitter.com/plRzMN67Vb
— SNBTS-Scottish National Blood Transfusion Service (@givebloodscot) September 1, 2021
O- blood is the type given in emergency and trauma situations as well as being given to new-born babies.
Meanwhile, O+ is the most common blood group, meaning it can provide help to the most amount of people.
Dr Armstrong-Fisher added: “We really want to try and build a group of regular donors for the future because only 4% of the eligible population donates.
“It’s not just needed for emergency situations, there are patients who need life-sustaining donations 365 days a year.”
Blood bank appointments can be booked online here. Anyone with questions about donating should call 0345 90 90 999.