We especially need O- and B- donors to come forward
We urgently need people to donate at our donor centres to get post-holiday period bloodstocks back to normal levels. We especially need O negative and B negative donors. See locations with the most available appointments.
We need all blood groups, though existing O negative and B negative donors are being prioritised and they can walk in and donate at several of our centres. Thanks to the fantastic response from donors, our sessions in community venues are almost full, but we need more donations at donor centres to make sure hospital patients get the blood they need. Your questions answered - read our Q&A.
We have created thousands of extra appointments, many of which are available at our permanent donor centres, please see below for those with appointments still available.
You can also walk in to one of our donor centres - they are currently accepting walk-in donors who have no appointments, with the exception of the West End and Newcastle Donor Centres. Although there is no walk-in availability at the West End Donor Centre, we are still accepting walk-ins at our other London centres, Tooting and Edgware.
There is availability at the following permanent donor centres this week:
You say there are added appointments, but I can't get one. Why?
If you’ve never donated before you may not be able to see an available appointment in the next few days. This is because our stocks are low and we are prioritising regular donors. They are more likely to be able to donate for sure and we already know if they have a blood group which has particularly low stocks. We do need new donors and if you can’t get an appointment now, please make one for a date in a few days or weeks – we will need you in the future to start saving lives.
Up to 25% of appointments can be cancelled at the last minute so please do keep checking online up to the day before the session you want to attend to try to book any appointments that come free.
If you can attend one of our donor centres, please check their opening hours and book an appointment for today or walk in if you are O negative or B negative blood group.
Appointment availability also varies around the country. Our donation sessions held in community venues such as church halls are often more than 85% full. We usually have more appointments available in most of our permanent donor centres, with only 65% of appointments filled at any one time. We have added additional appointments and sessions (listed above) over the last few weeks but we have still not replaced the 6-7000 donations we lost in the bad weather.
Why have stocks fallen so low that you need to make urgent appeals for blood?
The severe weather before and after Christmas made it difficult for people to donate and also led to some sessions being cancelled completely. We aim to have six days of blood at any time but we are currently holding less for some blood groups.
We’re also concerned because donations usually drop at holiday periods like Easter because people are busy with their families. We urgently need donors to come forward now to make sure we can continue supplying hospitals with the blood patients need.
I walked in to a session, but had to wait ages. Why?
Some blood groups are much lower than others, and we need to prioritise donors based on their blood group so we can make up the shortfall. We’re prioritising O negative and B negative donors at the moment, to make sure we collect as much as possible.
We’re sorry for any delays caused – we will still need other blood groups and we will try and collect your donation as quickly as we can.
You have closed the session nearest to me so how am I supposed to help out?
We have closed some sessions over the last few years because the long term trend is for hospitals to use slightly less blood each year. This is because they are better at knowing when to transfuse patients and also have new techniques such as keyhole surgery. We appreciate that has meant some people, especially in rural areas, are not able to easily travel to a session when there is a short term problem such as the recent bad weather. However, we have made sure we have enough appointments available at the sessions we retain. We’re grateful to everyone who offers help.
You say you need more donors, but you also say demand is dropping. Which is true?
Both are true. The longer term trend is for hospitals to use less blood. This means we need to collect 3-4% less blood overall each year. However we still need to collect a huge amount– around 6,000 donations a day – and blood still saves lives. Nearly 200,000 people stop donating every year for reasons such as poor health or pregnancy and we still need to replace those donors, which means we need nearly 200,000 new donors a year.
In the shorter term, blood can only be stored for 35 days, which means there is a constant need for donations. Stock can also be affected by temporary problems such as bad weather. At the moment we have low stock levels and we urgently need donations, particularly from those who are O negative or B negative. Please donate if you can, especially if you are a regular donor who is O negative or B negative.