UK: NHS declares ‘amber alert’ as blood supply shortage hits operations


British officials on Wednesday (October 12) urged for more supplies, warning that a lack of blood stocks could delay non-urgent hospital operations. 

The NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT) which collects blood and other tissues, issued the first “amber alert” warning of the same. For the first four weeks, the amber alert will be in effect so that stocks, especially of the most prevalent O-type blood, can be replenished. 

As per the interim chief, the executive said, “Asking hospitals to limit their use of blood is not a step we take lightly.” She further added, “This is a vital measure to protect patients who need blood the most,” AFP reported. 

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The chief apologised to patients whose surgeries would be postponed or cancelled. 

Patients who require the most blood such as long-term illnesses will be given priority. The NHSBT said that hospitals will continue to do surgery for urgent or emergency cases as well as for transplants. 

However, the non-urgent surgery might be delayed, adding to the publicly funded health service’s waiting list crisis, the govt is currently under pressure to address the matter.

As per statistics released in September 2022, in the UK, there were nearly 6.84 million patients on the waiting list as of July, according to statistics from NHS England. Although the NHSBT strives to have enough blood on hand for over six days, levels of O-positive types are expected to fall below. 

(With inputs from agencies)


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