The Irish Blood Transfusion Service has called on donors to make appointments to give blood as stocks run low across the main blood groups.

IBTS said there is currently three days of supply.

It has issued a 'pre-amber alert letter' to all hospitals advising them of the situation and asking them to use blood "conservatively".

In a statement today, the service said "bank holiday weekends are always difficult as our capacity to collect blood is reduced, the increased incidence of Covid-19 in the community as well as seasonal illness is having an adverse effect on donor attendance".

It said there had been an increased demand for blood over the summer months and into autumn, adding that Covid-19 had impacted donor blood collections.

Operations Director Barry Doyle said: "If the IBTS has to issue an ‘amber alert letter’ which is the next escalation level of the blood shortage plan, it would have an immediate implication for hospitals and for elective surgical procedures, requiring blood support.

"To mitigate against this we are asking people to help us support the health service in its efforts to keep normal hospital services running."

"Blood shortages are not unique to Ireland and many blood services in other countries are also experiencing shortages during the Covid-19 pandemic," he said.