Victorians urged to donate blood as new system tracks supply levels

June 23, 2024 BY

GMHBA chief executive officer David Greig and dental assistant Megan Buchmasser. Photo: ANGUS SMITH

In a bid to encourage more frequent blood donations, Australian Red Cross Lifeblood has launched a real-time tracking system for blood supply levels, coinciding with National Blood Donor Week.

The Lifeblood Blood Supply Update allows Australians to view blood supply levels by blood type, both nationwide and by state.

With more than 6,500 donations needed across Australia this week alone, including 2,500 in Victoria, the new system aims to motivate more people to donate.

Lifeblood executive director of donor experience Cath Stone said it was desperate times for donations.

“We hope that by having up-to-date information about how much blood is held by Lifeblood, it will motivate more people to come in and donate, especially when their blood type is needed or running low.”

Lifeblood must maintain adequate red cell units to meet demand, which fluctuates based on hospital needs and recent donations.

Blood types are categorised from “very low”, which signals an urgent need for donations, to “good”, suggesting a focus on plasma donations if possible.

Ms Stone said May through to September were the months when blood supply levels were most likely to drop to very low.

“We’d love to see people keeping a regular eye on our blood supplies and making an appointment when their blood type is needed, especially during the colder months.”

Research indicates 75 per cent of Australians would donate if they knew their blood type was needed, yet two in five are unsure of their blood type.

“If you don’t know your blood type, donating blood is a great way to find out. Please make an appointment, because no matter what blood type you are, every donation you give can save up to three lives,” Ms Stone said.

Blood donations are crucial for cancer patients, those with blood disorders, surgical patients, and women giving birth, with a donation needed every 18 seconds in Australia. In addition to red cell donations, Lifeblood also needs plasma and platelet donations daily.

The Lifeblood Blood Supply Update is available online for those interested in monitoring supply levels.

The Geelong Blood Donor Centre is open daily and appointments can be made by phoning 13 14 95 or heading to donateblood.com.au

Donors will also receive a limited-edition bandage designed by Indigenous Australian artist Aretha Brown if they donate before July 14.