Adj Professor Stephen Cornelissen, Australian Red Cross Lifeblood Chief Executive, advised that there have been material increases in demand for blood products at levels not seen in many years. This is particularly true for O RhD negative red blood cells (RBC), where demand (16.2 per cent*) far exceeds supply (8.7 per cent**). The ongoing demand for O RhD negative RBC has become a challenge to support nationally, with the impact expected to continue over the coming months and most likely for much longer.
In response to the shortages of O RhD negative RBC in Australia, the National Blood Authority, involving national stakeholders, is currently preparing a National Statement for the Emergency Use of Group O RBC, which includes the use of group O RhD positive RBC.
In-line with this statement, the Victorian Blood Matters Program is working with Safer Care Victoria to develop and implement strategies relating to the emergency use of group O RBC, including the use of O RhD positive. This is in consultation with clinicians, laboratories, and hospitals.
* Victorian 12-month average issue rate, 30 September 2022
** Proportion of new O RhD negative Australian blood donors