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UK's blood supplies have dropped so low an amber alert has been issued

Blood supplies in the UK are so desperately low the NHS has been forced to declare its first-ever amber alert.

Urgent calls for donations are in place across the country as the healthcare service scrambles to top up its blood bank.

A spokeswoman for the service said current overall blood stocks in the NHS stand at 3.1 days.

Levels of O type blood – one of the most common – have fallen to below two days.

O negative blood is the universal blood type, which can be given to everyone.

It is vitally important during emergencies and when the blood type of a patient is unknown.

The current amber alert is also thought to be due to ongoing staffing issues, with more staff needed to work at donor sessions.

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