News / Featured / 9th November 2023
Not so positive – urgent call for blood donations
Both O-negative and O-positive blood types have reached their lowest point in a year, however, many locals find it difficult to donate.
The demand for blood donations are at their highest in a decade, with O-positive and O-negative blood types in short supply.
Although more people are donating than ever before, organisations such as Lifeblood are struggling to keep up with hospital orders.
In Coonabarabran, there is a lack of accessible facilities for giving blood, with locals needing to travel to Tamworth or Dubbo to donate.
This four-hour return trip defers many from donating.
Jessica Willet, senior media manager with Australian Red Cross Lifeblood, said donation resources were placed where they were best able to meet the needs of patients.
There is no accessible blood bus in Coonabarabran due to factors such as proximity to processing centres, population size, estimated donation rate and availability of qualified staff.
“We receive hundreds of requests each year from communities across the country to collect blood in new, or old, locations. Australia is a vast country and we cannot be everywhere,” Ms Willet said.
“Lifeblood is incredibly grateful for the generosity of Australians who donate blood. We understand the frustration for people who want to donate, but are unable to due to their location.”
For those wanting to help but who cannot travel, spreading the importance of blood donation on social media, signing up to be an organ donor or volunteering for the Red Cross is recommended.
Stuart Chesneau, Lifeblood executive director strategy and growth, said around 50 per cent of people in Australia had type-O blood.
O-positive is the most common blood type, covering 40 per cent of people – meaning it is the most in demand.
O-negative is the universal blood type and is often stocked within rescue helicopters and ambulances, as it can be used to treat patients when their blood type is unknown. It is also one of the rarer blood types, with fewer than seven per cent of the population being O-negative.
“To ensure we continue to meet the needs of patients across the country, we need everyone who is eligible – more than 13 million people – to become blood and plasma donors,” Mr Chesneau said.
He also encourages existing donors to donate more than once a year.
Donating blood does change and save lives, however, if you are unable due to location or health reasons it can be important to conduct research and help spread the word on the importance of blood donation.