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NHS Issues Urgent Appeal for Blood Donors After Significant Cyberattack

NHS Blood and Transplant Urgently Appeals for O Blood Type Donors Amid Cyberattack Fallout

Following a critical cyber incident affecting hospitals’ ability to match patients’ blood promptly, NHS Blood and Transplant is urgently requesting appointments from O blood type donors.

Due to the cyberattack, hospitals have experienced disruptions, resulting in the postponement of operations and procedures. The attack, attributed to the Russian hacking group Qilin and directed at pathology services firm Synnovis, has impacted the swift matching of patients’ blood.

O positive and O negative blood types are highly compatible for patients, with O negative being universally usable. Ambulances carry O negative blood as it can be administered regardless of a patient’s blood type.

Despite only 8% of the population having O negative blood, it constitutes about 15% of hospital orders. O positive, the most common blood type at 35% among donors, can be given to any individual with a positive blood type, benefiting 76% of the population.

Blood has a shelf life of 35 days, necessitating continuous replenishment of stocks. With demand rising and hospitals unable to match specific blood types, more donors are urgently needed.

During National Blood Week, it was disclosed that hospitals require three blood donations every minute. NHS Blood Donor Centres have approximately 13,000 appointments available nationwide this week, with 3,400 in London alone.

Dr. Gail Miflin, NHS Blood and Transplant’s chief medical officer, emphasized patient safety as their top priority. To facilitate surgeries and provide optimal care, particularly in London, more O negative and O positive donors are needed. Donors can schedule appointments at any of the 25 town and city donor centers with good availability.

Professor Stephen Powis, NHS England’s medical director, assured patients of continued access to urgent and emergency services. However, due to the cyberattack’s impact, certain operations and appointments have been postponed or redirected to unaffected hospitals.

To support London hospitals in treating more patients, especially in emergencies, access to O negative and O positive blood is crucial. Donors with these blood types are encouraged to schedule appointments at NHS Blood Donor Centres, where 13,000 appointments are currently available.

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