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Blood supply

Sanquin strives to maintain a blood supply for packed red cells that is equal to the average number of units used in seven days in the hospitals in the Netherlands. For some blood types (B- and AB), the supply is 8 days.
This ensures optimal reliability of supply to hospitals. If supplies are larger, the chances of exceeding a unit's shelf life increase. The bar chart below is updated every week.

Blood supply - week 42 bloedvoorraadgrafiek.gif
Click here to see the course of the blood supply process

Supply levels

Four supply levels are distinguished. Depending on supply levels, more or fewer blood donors with the blood type in question will be invited to donate.

  • Ample: the supply is greater than 9 days. Fewer donors invited to donate.
  • Optimal: supply is between 5 and 9 days. Normal number of donors invited.
  • Moderate: supply is running low and has dropped below 5 days. Extra donors invited.
  • Low: supply has dropped below 3 days. Extra donors invited in the short term.

For blood types B- and AB, limits are one day higher than mentioned above.

Due to variations in the required number of packed red cells for patients or in donor attendance, for example due to holidays, Sanquin's supply is constantly in flux. The goal is to keep the top of the bars in the chart in the green zone.

Blood types in the Netherlands

Not all blood types occur equally frequently among the Dutch population. Most people have blood type O or A (89%). Additionally, around 84 percent of the population are Rhesus D positive.


Patients can sometimes receive a blood type other than their own. That is why the lower limit for blood types O and A is slightly higher than for blood types B and AB.

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