After the NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT) ‘amber alert’ came into force, East Anglian Air Ambulance (EAAA) has asked its social media followers to donate blood, as supplies are critically low. The alert will last for four weeks initially to allow stocks to be rebuilt.
An amber alert means that hospitals have been asked to put management plans in place to protect their blood stock levels. Therefore, some non-urgent elective surgeries could be postponed in order to prioritise blood for patients who need it most.
The NHSBT is running low on O positive and O negative blood in particular and EAAA is urging people, with these blood types and can donate, to make an appointment.
EAAA began carrying blood products onboard their aircraft and rapid response vehicles for every mission in July 2021. The supplies enable them to carry out emergency transfusions in transit, giving trauma patients with extensive bleeding the greatest chance of survival.
Blood can only be stored for 35 days, which means there is a constant need for donations and of specific blood types too. If too much or the wrong type of blood is collected, it could be wasted, and hospitals might not have the right type for their patients.
EAAA’s blood supplies are provided through a partnership with two local hospitals – Addenbrooke’s Hospital and the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital (NNUH), as well as two volunteer-driven blood biker charities, SERV Suffolk and Cambridgeshire and Norfolk Blood Bikes.