Minutes of national operations group of Irish Blood Transfusion Service detail struggles with phone system, illness, and Covid restrictions

The Irish Blood Transfusion Service (IBTS) spent months struggling with a failing phone system which was unable to cope with the volume of calls they had to deal with as a result of Covid-19 restrictions.

The service said their phone system had never been designed to deal with such high demand with walk-in donations replaced overnight by an “appointment only” system.

In meetings of their National Operations Group, the IBTS reported how they were receiving “many many donor complaints” from people struggling to get through even as stocks of blood ran perilously low.

Throughout the first five months of this year, the phone system was flagged as “a major concern”, and classified at one stage as a “red risk” with donors unable to get calls answered or even leave a message.

The IBTS said the system had been replaced in August, meaning the issue had finally been resolved after several months of problems.

Minutes of meetings of their National Operations Group describe how precarious blood supply issues became during the first half of the year between staff illnesses, phone problems, and struggles with getting donations.