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Royal College of Surgeons of England statement on NHS blood “amber alert”

12 Oct 2022

Responding to news that NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT) has had to trigger an “amber alert” to protect blood stocks, Professor Neil Mortensen, President of the Royal College of Surgeons of England, said: 

“While an “amber alert” on blood stocks may initially be alarming to patients, they should be reassured that NHS Blood and Transplant and hospitals will be doing everything possible to ensure life-saving surgeries, including cancer surgeries, can go ahead. 

“There have been many advances in surgery over recent decades which mean patients are much less likely to lose a lot of blood during surgery. There are also new technologies and medicines to reduce blood loss for higher risk patients.

“As with any emergency situation, patients will be prioritised according to clinical need. It is inevitable that some less urgent surgeries will be postponed but hospitals will reschedule these as soon as possible. Hospitals may also re-prioritise surgery that does not need a blood transfusion so that resources can still be used, and the impact on the backlog is reduced.

“I would urge anyone that is able to give blood to make an appointment at a donation centre as soon as possible to help us move out of this temporary situation more quickly.”



Notes to editors

The Royal College of Surgeons of England (RCS England) is a professional membership organisation and registered charity. The College provides world-class education, assessment and development to more than 28,000 surgeons, dental professionals and members of the wider surgical and dental care teams, at all stages of their career. The College sets professional standards, facilitates research and champions the best outcomes for patients – with a vision to see excellent surgical care for everyone.

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