Blood stocks to be hoarded ahead of Brexit deadline

Extra stocks of blood products to supply Irish patients are being hoarded in advance of the Halloween Brexit deadline, it was confirmed yesterday.

The Irish Blood Transfusion Service (IBTS), which has ties with its British counterpart, said it is putting contingency plans in place to prepare for the UK crashing out of the EU.

A spokeswoman said: “Stocks of blood products will be increased prior to October 31 to ensure supply into 2020.”

She added that an important concern for the service in the event of a no-deal Brexit would be the affect on the supply of essentials, such as blood packs for the collection of blood.

“We will still be able to access these consumables used in the production of blood – this can also include kits used for testing,” the spokeswoman said.

“Neither the EU, UK nor Irish Government can say with any certainty what will happen on November 1, 2019 in a no-deal Brexit.

“The IBTS has reviewed risks such as delays at ports, and has in place a plan to build contingency stock that will be held in Ireland.

“In the event of any delays into or from UK ports, this will allow access to critical consumables so that blood can be collected, processed and distributed to hospitals.

“In some other cases consumables are delivered direct from mainland Europe, in this case a smaller contingency stock is in place.

“The IBTS has also contacted Irish suppliers and distributors to ensure they are holding contingency stock.

“In the event of a disorderly Brexit, this allows for certainty in the supply chain.”

While the IBTS is building up contingency stock, it is hopeful that pressures would ease over time.

“It is envisaged that after approximately two months we will understand the impact of a no-deal, including potential delays at ports.

“At that stage contingency stocks can be run down.

“So really the cost is being front-loaded, but will not impact adversely on IBTS funding as stocks will be used.”

Around one in four people will require a blood transfusion at some point in their life, but only 3pc of the eligible population are active donors.

Blood lasts just 35 days, and any given to newborns must be less than five days old.

The IBTS needs around need 3,000 blood donations a week to supply hospitals.

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