New standards hit local blood supplyhit blood bank

By KELLI DOWNEYkelli@gladstoneobserver.com.au

A HIGHER acceptable haemoglobin level means a new hurdle for local blood stocks.

Australian Red Cross' decision to increase haemoglobin levels for blood donation by two grams per litre (g/L) is expected to reduce local donor numbers by an estimated 2.7 per cent.

The new levels, which came into effect on January 1, require female blood donors to have a haemoglobin level of 120 g/L and males 130g/L.

Gladstone Blood Service manager Bronwyn Sears said locally about 54 donors would most likely be lost.

Ms Sears said staff had been preparing for this, hence the Target 500 blood donation campaign launched by The Observer last month which eventually exceeded the target.

The campaign was aimed at building a better safety net of donors and introducing new donors to the service.

'We really struggled last year,' Ms Sears said.

'We knew this was around the corner and had to try to create a buffer zone.

'We are relying too heavily on a small group of people to support our local blood supply.'

Ms Sears said the changes would particularly affect female donor numbers, with many restricted to donating blood less frequently.

She said in effect this meant more donors were needed to fill the same amount of bags. The decision to introduce the increases was prompted by ongoing studies.



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