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Blood donation

Blood usage in Singapore

Blood contains many life-saving components that can help to treat different illnesses and injuries. For many patients, blood donors are their lifeline.

Blood goes to those having medical emergencies such as accident survivors; individuals undergoing major surgeries such as organ transplants; patients with cancers and blood disorders like leukaemia and lymphomas or severe anaemia; and even new-borns with medical conditions.

The platelets found in blood are used to treat leukaemia patients. A single patient often needs platelets from 10 or more donors, all within a short period of time. Add to that the short 7-day lifespan of donated platelets, and you can understand why there is a constant need for platelet donors.

How much blood is needed

Every hour of the day, 15 units of blood are used in Singapore. We need about 120,000 units of blood to meet the transfusion needs of patients every year, equivalent to about 400 units of blood a day.

With an ageing population, more advanced life-saving medical procedures, and new hospitals being established, more blood will be needed every year.

Therefore, to ensure a steady supply of blood for public use in peacetime and during emergencies, it is vital that a 9-day supply of blood is maintained in our national inventory.

A high level of emergency preparedness is also maintained at all times, with contingency plans to meet all scenarios requiring large amounts of blood.

Proportion of blood usage in Singapore

The table below details Singapore's blood utilisation figures, by medical service and department. These figures are similar to that of countries such as the United States, Canada, Australia and the United Kingdom.

Purpose Percentage
General surgery (including heart surgery) 54%
General medicine 31%
Haematology (blood diseases) 9%
Accident and emergency 6%

Selective blood donations

From time to time, the Singapore Red Cross, the national blood donor recruiter, may also make appeals for blood donors of specific blood groups or rare blood groups to meet the medical needs of our patients.

Such appeals will be for specific blood groups that are currently in short supply, such as O+ or A-, or they might be needed by patients with rare blood groups. As group O blood may be used in a patient having severe trauma or other bleeding emergency whose blood group has not been determined, it is important that the Bloodbank@HSA holds higher levels of O+ and O- blood stocks.

In times of need, suitable donors might be contacted via phone, SMS or mail.