(Australian Associated Press)
The Red Cross Blood Service is urging donors not to cancel appointments over the holiday period when a greater number of people postpone or fail to show up to give blood.
Last minute cancellations leave the blood service without enough time to replace donors and impact blood supplies, Australian Red Cross Blood Service spokesman Shaun Inganzo says.
About 20 per cent of people who make an appointment cancel throughout the year and this increases over the summer.
“The trouble with that for the blood service is that someone in a hospital somewhere is depending on your blood,” Mr Inganzo said on Tuesday.
The service needs about 25,000 donations per week.
Each donation potentially saves up to three lives.
“It’s important that we have a constant flow of donors,” Mr Inganzo said.
“The shelf life of blood is quite limited.
“They’re never on the shelf more than about eight days.”
About 30 per cent of donated blood goes to cancer patients, who rely on blood products which can only be kept for a few days.
“Cancer doesn’t discriminate and it doesn’t take a break,” Mr Inganzo said.
Health Minister Jill Hennessy everyone knows someone who has needed blood.
“We know that over the Christmas period we have more road trauma, for example, and the need for blood is incredibly important.”
To donate blood call 13 14 95 or visit donateblood.com.au