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IBTS launch ‘appointments-only’ Clare donation clinic

AN Ennis hotel is to open its doors next week to support efforts to fight Covid-19, by facilitating a three-week blood donation clinic.

Because of the lock-down, the Irish Blood Transfusion Services Board (IBTS), has had to introduce an appointments-only system for Clare donors. It will also apply strict social distancing protocols at the clinics which will operate at Treacy’s West County Hotel, from Tuesday next (April 14) until Thursday, April 30.

“At the moment, blood stocks are fine as demand is down due to the cancellation of elective hospital procedures,” explained Aileen Browne, Area Manager for IBTS. “However, we do need to ensure we are prepared for any increase. Donations are essential, so people will be permitted to travel to give blood. We will be texting our regular donors and asking them to ring us if they would like to make an appointment to donate.”

That system will enable IBTS to managed the numbers attending clinics and reduce the time that donors spend at clinics, with an estimated 80 to 100 people present at any one time, and adhering to social distancing guidelines. Triaging will be carried out over the phone and at the clinics, with the support of the Civil Defence.

“When people ring us to make their appointment, they will be asked a number of questions to determine whether or not they are in a position to make a donation,” Ms Browne said. “Then, when someone attends, they’ll be met by members of the Civil Defence who are giving us great support. Personnel will go through a number of questions, including someone’s travel history, contact with any confirmed cases and whether they are fit and well. Those answers will help determine who should be donating.”

Civil Defence members will also support the IBTS in implementing social distancing protocols.

“We will be making sure that people are at a distance from each other,” Ms Browne outlined. “When it comes to inserting needles, staff will also follow protocols to cut any risk of infection and we will be keeping the time people need to spend at the clinic to a minimum.”

Last year, 4,300 Clare donors attending clinics across the county and many of them will be contacted over the coming weeks.

“We are appealing to people not to turn up without an appointment,” Ms Browne said. “We will be in touch with people and our main focus will be on Ennis donors, particularly for the first two weeks. On the third week, we will be reaching out to our donors in other parts of Clare.”

About Fiona McGarry

Fiona McGarry joined The Clare Champion as a reporter after a four-year stint as producer of Morning Focus on Clare FM. Prior to that she worked for various radio, print and online titles, including Newstalk, Maximum Media and The Tuam Herald. Fiona’s media career began in her native Mayo when she joined Midwest Radio. She is the maker of a number of radio documentaries, funded by the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI). She has also availed of the Simon Cumbers Media Fund to report on development issues supported by Irish Aid in Haiti. She won a Justice Media Award for a short radio series on the work of Bedford Row Project, which supports prisoners and families in the Mid-West. Fiona also teaches on the Journalism programmes at NUI Galway. If you have a story and would like to get in touch with Fiona you can email her at fmcgarry@clarechampion.ie or telephone 065 6864146.

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