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National appeal for urgent blood donations.



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Media Release

Senator the Hon Kay Patterson Minister for Health and Ageing

7 September 2003

NATIONAL APPEAL FOR URGENT BLOOD DONATIONS

For the first time in many years, the Federal Minister for Health and Ageing, Senator Kay Patterson, and the Australian Red Cross Blood Service (ARCBS) have called for national support immediately and over the coming weeks to boost desperately low blood stocks Australia-wide.

"Normally, in most instances, we find a particular state may have difficulty meeting demand for blood, in which case blood may be shared across the national ARCBS network," Senator Patterson said.

"However, August has been a particularly difficult month with higher than usual blood usage, coupled with lower collections Australia-wide due to increased colds and flu affecting the ability of many to donate."

"At this time we have no alternative but to call on the community to support this life-saving service.

"Without immediate support patient's lives could be in real danger and other critically ill people may find urgent, life-saving surgery postponed," Senator Patterson said.

Senator Patterson said the ARCBS has advised that national supplies of the two main blood groups O and A are extremely low.

"We need approximately 4000 donations every day around Australia just to meet demand," said Dr Brenton Wylie, Director of Blood Products and Tissue Banking, ARCBS.

"Time is precious with our lives being busier than ever, but there are thousands of Australians who need just 1 or 2 hours of your time to help save their life. What could be more important than donating blood?"

To register your interest to donate blood visit www.donateblood.com.au or call 13 14 95 to make an appointment.

Media inquiries: Sarah Higginbottom, Media Adviser, Senator Patterson's office, 02 6277 7220. Further enquiries: Kira Armstrong, Australian Red Cross Blood Service on 0417 165 839