Non-urgent operations that may require large volumes of blood are being postponed due to the blood shortage at Mater Dei Hospital.

So far, about eight non-urgent operations have been postponed and replaced by other procedures that require less blood, said Mater Dei Hospital chief executive officer Ivan Falzon.

“We’re being kept updated on the stock situation hourly by the National Blood Transfusion Centre to plan our activity accordingly,” he said.

On Tuesday, the Blood Transfusion Centre issued a statement saying that O positive and O and A negative blood is in very short supply and donors are needed urgently. 

It said that unless urgent donations were made, a number of operations will have to be cancelled. 

No urgent operations have been cancelled so far. It is the second time in three days that the centre made a public request for blood donors. 

Blood Transfusion Centre director Alex Aquilina explained that every January the centre experienced a shortage. 

During the festive period, the number of elective surgeries decreased as many were scheduled before or after the holidays. Besides, the number of donors tend to drop after the festive period when the number of transfusions tend to increase – as more elective surgeries start being scheduled.

We need 60 donations a day for the next week... we’re not out of the woods yet

“We are getting about 30 to 35 donations a day, but we need about 60 daily. And in order for our stock to be replenished, we need 60 donations a day for the next week… we’re not out of the woods yet,” he said. 

Blood can be donated at the Blood Transfusion Centre in Guardamangia, which is open from 8am to 6pm, Monday to Sunday. In Gozo, donations can be made at the Xewkija Clinic on alternate Sundays between 8am and 1pm and on alternate Tuesdays between 1pm and 5pm. 

Donors have to be in possession of their identity card.

People who had the common cold should wait 15 days from their last symptoms before donating blood. Those who have been very sick and took antibiotics should leave four weeks before donating. 

Further information call 7930 7307 or freephone 8007 4313. 

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