Toowoomba Region Mayor Paul Antonio is calling on eligible residents to book an appointment to donate blood or plasma at their nearest Lifeblood donor centre.

“Donating blood is an essential service that can be safely performed while adhering to the strict social distancing and health guidelines required in relation to the Coronavirus pandemic.” Mayor Antonio said at his donation appointment this week.

“I’m happy to continue my visits to help Lifeblood maintain its vital services. Councillors and Council staff have been regular supporters of this service in recent years and it’s just as important for us to continue booking appointments.

“While many of our public meetings and functions can’t be held in their normal format, giving blood and plasma is listed as an essential service.

“The Lifeblood staff have taken additional health and safety measures to ensure donors’ visits are conducted in the safest environment.”

Mayor Antonio said Lifeblood was always on the lookout for new donors, particularly as some regular donors might be unable to visit a centre given the social distancing regulations.

He said donors were needed to support the ever-increasing need for plasma, as it was such a versatile blood product.

Australian Red Cross Lifeblood group account manager Sandee Thompson encouraged people to book a donation appointment during April and May.

“Lifeblood has taken extra safety measures (hospital level cleaning, additional social distancing arrangements and donor wellness checks) to protect donors, staff and patients,” she said.

“Healthy adults who have not travelled overseas in the past 28 days are welcome to book an appointment. Our usual health requirements still apply, and all eligibility criteria can be viewed at www.donateblood.com.au

“Australia still needs 29,000 donors each week to provide healthcare support to patients with serious medical conditions, including patients on dialysis, cancer patients and haemophiliacs.

“Apart from patients undergoing regular treatment, no one can foresee when injury or an accident will require emergency intervention.

“Red Cross statistics tell us one in three Australians will need blood or a blood product during their life. One in 30 Australians presently donates blood.

“Blood products have a short shelf life which means we need to maintain continuity of supply.”

A whole blood donation takes around an hour to complete (including a pre-donation interview), while plasma donations take around 90 minutes.

New donors can register online at www.donateblood.com.au or call 13 14 95.

Caption: Toowoomba Region Mayor Paul Antonio visits the Toowoomba Lifeblood donor centre at 1a, 661 Ruthven Street.