NHS is running out of blood: Service declares first ever ‘amber alert’ amid dwindling supplies

NHS Give Blood logo

Blood can only be stored for 35 days

NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT) has declared an amber alert on its blood stocks which are running dangerously low, and a call is going out for people to make emergency donations.

Nationally, there is less than two days' supply of O negative blood — the universal type which hospitals are reliant on in emergencies.  Unless supplies get back on track quickly, the NHS Blood and Transplant service could upgrade the situation to a 'red' alert, which could see all but the most serious emergency surgeries cancelled.

NHSBT say maintaining stocks has been a challenge in the wake of Covid, partly due to fewer people visiting collection centres in towns and cities.  Staff sickness because of the virus has also led to cancellations so NHS staff are being moved to the front line to open up more appointments.

NHS Blood and Transplant blood stocks are critically low - if you're fit and healthy, please make an emergency donation now

Call NHS Blood and Transplant on 0300 123 23 23 to book

As the situation is so urgent, the phone lines are unusually busy so you may have to wait a while to get through - but do hang on, you will get through and they will book you an appointment.

Or visit the NHS Blood and Transplant website

Due to the urgency of the situation, the NHS Blood and Transplant website can also become very busy so they have implemented a queuing system. If the website is too busy you will see a page like the image below. It will give you an indication of how long you will have to wait to get online. Do be patient, you will get online eventually - alternatively you could try calling number above.

NHS Blood donation website queuing system

What does a shortage mean for MDS sufferers?

About 70% of all patients suffering from Myelodysplastic Syndrome are anaemic and become blood transfusion dependent during the course of their disease. Since their anaemia is “refractory”, they are in need of regular blood transfusions, with many requiring red blood or platelets several times per month, to stay alive.

Severe anaemia causes extreme fatigue, breathlessness, dizziness, and – if no action is taken, death, if the blood levels drop critically low.

MDS patients – please ask your healthy relatives and friends to become or remain a volunteer donor. Please spread the word about the urgent need to help stop the threat of low blood stocks worldwide. Please talk about it around you.


Free donations by shopping