Blood supply shortage hits UK; non-emergency operations suspended

Non-emergency surgeries at several UK hospitals are at risk of being postponed as UK health officials warned on Wednesday of a critically low supply of donated blood. The National Health Services (NHS) in the UK have also sounded an ‘amber alarm’ to ensure blood reaches those most in need. The ‘orange warning’ will last for the first four weeks to replenish supplies, especially of the most common O-type blood, AFP news agency reported. Meanwhile, hospitals have been asked to make plans to protect blood supplies during the severe crisis.

This recent health crisis comes as the UK economy is already on the brink of recession after contracting unexpectedly by 0.3 percent in August, Reuters reported. The blood shortage looks set to add to the pile of hurdles British Prime Minister Liz Truss – who took charge last month – must overcome.

No influence on urgent operations

The officials have stated that hospitals will continue to perform emergency, emergency or trauma surgery. Surgeries for cancer and transplants also remain unaffected. Furthermore, priority will be given to patients who need blood most, such as for transfusions for people with long-term conditions, NHSBT said according to local media.

Officials urge donors to act

The country’s health officials are now making an urgent appeal for more blood donors to combat this shortage. “If you are O positive or O negative in particular, make an appointment to donate blood as soon as possible. If you already have an appointment, please keep it,” the interim director of the NHS told BBC news.

It should be noted that blood can only be stored for 35 days, creating a constant need for donations and specific blood groups.

(With input from news agencies)

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