Covid-19 / Coronavirus - Irish Blood Transfusion Service

Covid-19 / Coronavirus

COVID-19 measures taken by IBTS  - Patients will still require blood and platelets

As a frontline service, it is vital that the IBTS continues to collect enough blood and platelets to maintain the supplies to our hospitals during the Covid-19 situation.

The Government has included Blood and Platelet donation as an essential service. Therefore, donors with confirmed appointments to attend a donation clinic (blood or platelets) are exempt from the Government’s travel restrictions at this time.  Please have your phone with you to be able to show your confirmed appointment at the donation clinic if requested.

While some surgery and outpatients activities are postponed, the treatment and care for cancer and many other life threatening conditions must continue.

In keeping with public health guidelines the IBTS will work to constantly ensure that our staff, donors and patients are kept as safe as possible. To achieve this, the IBTS has decided to make changes to how our clinics operate. 

We are asking donors to make an appointment when they are texted to attend their upcoming clinic

For all clinics we have introduced appointment slots that prioritise regular donors who have made appointments. We will limit the number of appointments for donors presenting at clinic every 10 minutes, and manage the subsequent flow of donors throughout the clinic.

We appreciate that this will be a big change for donors but will allow us to put the safety of our donors and staff to the fore, by enabling reasonable social distancing throughout the clinic, reducing queues, and improving the time it takes donors to complete their donation.

How will this work?

Eligible donors for upcoming clinics will be sent a text message, including your donor ID number, detailing how you can contact us to make an appointment to donate. We urge you to call us to make an appointment to guarantee your registration slot, and to ensure we collect enough blood at each clinic.

Please note we are not currently taking donations from First Time Donors, donors who haven't given blood in the last 5 years, nor Donors aged 70 and over (see below for more information).

Possible Change to Venues

In the coming weeks we may need to alter the locations of planned donation clinics due to the unavailability of our normal venues. If this happens, we will ask you to attend an alternative clinic that is reasonably close to you. We appreciate this might be inconvenient for some donors, but encourage you to attend your local clinics in these different venues. We would like to remind all donors that our fixed centre clinics in D’Olier Street, Stillorgan, and St Finbarrs Cork, will operate as normal, as will our Apheresis clinics.

During Covid-19, some additional donors are not allowed to give blood

 - Donors aged 70 and over due to government guidelines advice

 - if you are a health care worker, either clinical or non clinical, (e.g. doctor, nurse, health care assistant, ambulance staff, physiotherapist, hospital porter) working in general practice, hospital, nursing home or residential care facility, you cannot donate at present  


What if I've never given blood before (or in the last 5 years)?

For now we ask you to Register your interest. Currently we are not taking whole blood donations from First Time Donors, nor donors who haven't given blood in the last 5 years. This is because these donors require an extended screening interview on clinic with a nurse and may exceed 15 minutes, contrary to current social distancing guidelines. However we do ask you to Register Interest.Then we will be able to contact you later in the year when we need you, particularly when demand from the hospitals increases again.

Ensuring our clinics remain a safe place to give blood

In addition, we have introduced the following measures to keep our donors and staff safe:

  • On arrival to a clinic, you will be met  at the door and will be asked questions about your health and travel history
  • If you have any symptoms of Covid-19 or you have travelled outside the island of Ireland in the last 14 days, you will not be allowed to enter the clinic
  • They will also check that you have an appointment, or allocate you the next available appointment slot if any remain. Please respect the member of staff if you are advised that you are unable to donate today. We will be delighted to see you again very soon
  • Hand gel is provided and all donors must use it
  • For social distancing purposes, the seating throughout the clinic has been reduced to reduce close contact among donors. Please do not move any of the chairs in the clinic.
  • All relevant surfaces in our clinics are cleaned frequently with approved disinfectant
  • Only donors will be able to access the donation area. Please note, in the interest of safety of staff and other donors, children under the age of 18 will not be able to enter the donation clinic.

There is no evidence that Covid-19 has been transmitted by blood transfusion. All of the above measures have been implemented to reduce the risk of transmission of Covid-19 between donors and our staff

Please do not attend an IBTS clinic if you have any of the following symptoms (whether you have travelled to an affected area or not):

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Runny nose
  • Sore throat
  • Fatigue
  • Shortness of breath / difficulty breathing
  • Any other respiratory symptoms

In addition:

  • Please do not attend an IBTS clinic if you have travelled outside of the island of Ireland in the last 14 days
  • You must wait 14 days from the last time you were in contact with a person with confirmed or suspected Covid-19 infection.

Please check your  eligibility to donate before attending a clinic to avoid disappointment. For more information on eligibility click here

Managing Covid-19 situation into the future, while maintaining supplies to our hospitals

The current situation with Covid-19 is constantly evolving on a daily basis. We would ask that you keep checking prior to attending a clinic for the latest information.

All staff in the Irish Blood Transfusion Service would like to thank all our donors for their continued support during this challenging time.

Thank you and don’t forget to make that appointment!