The British Health Service (NHS) declared a yellow danger level for the first time since its founding in 1972, the reason for this was the reduction to critically low blood supplies. This was reported on Wednesday by the television channel Sky News.
According to the NHS, there are "only three days of blood supplies and less than two days of Group 0 negative Rhesus Factor blood supplies." This type of blood is universal for all patients, maintaining its supply is especially important during emergencies when the recipient's identity is unknown.
Hospitals were ordered Wednesday to implement plans to protect their supplies, meaning that non-urgent surgeries requiring blood can be delayed to ensure that supplies are prioritized for patients who need them most.
"Asking hospitals to limit the use of blood is not a move we take lightly," said Wendy Clark, interim executive director of NHSBT.
The British blood bank must have a blood supply of at least six days, otherwise it is declared a yellow danger level. In the current situation, hospitals, in particular, have postponed some non-urgent operations in order to save blood supplies. Medics are urging Britons to donate blood urgently at blood donation centers.
Maintaining blood supplies has become a serious problem since the Covid-19 pandemic, primarily because of staff shortages and illnesses, but also because of changes in donor behavior as people are less likely to visit collection centers in cities and towns.
Existing O-negative and positive donors are now being asked to sign up at blood donor centers to donate blood. People from other blood groups are also asked to keep their appointments.
Since the news of the Amber Alert, the blood donor website has become very busy and people have been put on hold. Phone lines operated by the NHSBT also showed an increase in calls.
As noted, health care executives are struggling to move more NHS employees to the front lines to facilitate more appointments, as well as accelerate efforts to fill vacant positions and retain staff.
Moreover, the yellow danger level will be in effect for four weeks.