Drastic drop in blood donors in the BGL – research into the causes with Toni Holzer from the Red Cross

In the large clinics in the city of Salzburg, a lot of blood is needed for planned or emergency operations, of course also for the numerous patients from the Berchtesgadener Land. So it seemed almost logical that the Salzburg Red Cross took over blood donations in the entire district last year, as it had done successfully for 70 years in the five communities of the inner district. But blood donations are falling dramatically.

BGL / Salzburg – First because of Corona, “then some donors were obviously unsettled and deterred by the change to the Salzburg Red Cross,” suspects BRK coordinator Edi Schmid. An initially promised interview with Schmid did not take place, so BGLand24 asked Toni Holzer from the Salzburg Red Cross.

First the facts: In 2020, 6.2 percent of the population capable of donating in Berchtesgadener Land were donating blood, in 2021 it was only 3.8 percent, in 2022 – i.e. the year of change – the number fell further to 3.1 percent, the are in absolute numbers only 1488 liters of blood.

For comparison: In the state of Salzburg, this percentage is 5.3 percent and thus just as high as before the pandemic, although there are also differences in the state, so in the city only 1.6 percent of those able to donate actually donate blood, in Lungau it is 8.8 percent. “During the corona pandemic, we did not see any significant changes in the willingness to donate in Salzburg,” says Toni Holzer from the Red Cross blood donation service.

Why decline in BGL?

In 2022, the BRK had handed over blood donations in the entire BGL district to the Salzburg Red Cross, on the grounds that the travel distances were much shorter, the appointments could be carried out more effectively and the donated blood would be available to the district citizens in Salzburg anyway stand. But how can Toni Holzer explain the decline in the district?

“In the first year after the takeover, we only had 13 percent fewer blood donations than in 2021. For data protection reasons, we did not receive any donor data, so we could not invite the donors directly to the blood donation campaigns,” says Holzer. You had to start from scratch, so to speak, every donor was a “first-time donor”. Since the autumn, the willingness to donate in the Berchtesgadener Land has been increasing again, assures Salzburg’s Red Cross boss, “we assume that we will gradually level off at the pre-Corona level”.

Free laboratory test for every blood donation

Little has changed for the blood donors in Berchtesgadener Land as a result of the change, apart from the fact that they receive a new blood donor card in the form of a credit card and after each donation they receive a result from the laboratory test of the blood, i.e. a free “health check”, so to speak. In the five communities in the inner district, as well as in the blood donation campaign Laufen – Oberndorf, it is evident that the cross-border donation is very gladly accepted. “In Oberndorf, 140 blood bags from Austria and 64 from Bavaria were won in the most recent two campaigns. In Laufen 34 blood bags from Austria and 176 from Bavaria”.

“Please more advertising in the communities”

There are also fluctuations in the state of Salzburg, that in rural communities there tends to be far more people donating blood, which also has something to do with the fact that there is a lot of advertising being done there via the communities, the farmers, the fire brigades and other associations, “also in the BGL We have noticed strong fluctuations in the willingness to donate blood in communities, which indicates that the support for advertising the campaigns varies,” Holzer concludes.

Dates in February and March

Anyone who wants to donate blood can come to the Freilassinger Badylon on Thursday, February 16 from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. Donors do not need vaccination, rapid test or mask to attend the appointments. Further dates are on Thursday, March 16 from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. in the Laufen elementary school, on Wednesday, March 22 from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. in the Sankt Zeno parish hall in Bad Reichenhall and on Thursday, March 23 from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m 8 p.m. in the parish hall of Ainring-Mitterfelden. All dates are also available online at