PETALING JAYA: The National Blood Centre isn’t taking any chances. It is ensuring sufficient supplies at hospitals in anticipation of an increase in backlog surgical and medical procedures that are to be cleared by the year.
Transfusion medicine specialist Dr Thane Moze Darumalinggam said the centre is carrying out its plans well with surgeons, clinicians and blood collection sites nationwide.
“We are anticipating a steady increase in demand. Past statistics have shown that we need at least 2,000 units of blood daily nationwide,” she said.
“In the Klang Valley alone, we need at least 500 to 600 units. With the government’s plan to clear the backlog, the need for blood and additional requirements will cater to the kinds of surgeries and patients’ needs,” said yesterday.
Dr Thane was responding to the Health Minister’s plans to clear some 50,000 backlog surgical and medical procedures by the year-end.
The backlog refers to surgeries that had to be postponed when hospitals and wards were dealing solely with Covid-19 cases.
While some non-Covid-19 cases have been referred to private hospitals, several procedures were deferred due to the pandemic that is now in its third year.
As at Sept 30 last year, there were 57,355 backlog cases. Of the number, 53,785 or 93.7% were surgical-based and 3,570 or 6.2% were medical-based.
Dr Thane said the centre had alerted blood collection sites to support each other wherever and whenever the need for blood arises.
For instance, Dr Thane said if there is a surplus in one state, it should help states that are in short supply.
“No one should be deprived of blood,” she added.
As the country moves on to the pandemic’s endemic phase, Dr Thane noticed that routine cases had begun to increase, with clinicians approaching the centre for blood.
“We will support them. We have to adopt a strategy so that we don’t miss out on anything, including supplies for rare blood groups,” she said, adding that the centre had been approaching donors frequently.
“Fortunately, our donors are generous. They always step up when supply is depleting,” she said, adding that she hopes more eligible people would come forward to donate.
The Association of Private Hospitals Malaysia (APHM) president Datuk Dr Kuljit Singh said most non-Covid-19 patients who were decanted to private hospitals were not complicated cases and did not require blood transfusion.
“Most who are sent over are stable patients. And when a transfusion is needed, it can be planned,” he said.
Dr Kuljit said the demand for blood would not surge when the backlog procedures resume because these cases are not critical.
“However, we are not sure what mixture of patients they are. As long as it is not an emergency, all can be planned.”