A new online survey* carried out by NHS Blood and Transplant, found that 70% of 2,126 adults aged 16-79 in England did not make a New Year’s resolution in 2016. Why not do things differently this year? In 2017, instead of giving something up, people are being asked to give, by becoming a blood donor and helping save lives.
By giving up just one hour of your time you could save or improve up to three lives. Proud (43%), helpful (42%) and happy (38%) are the top three words people chose to describe how they feel after their most recent donation.**
The survey highlights confusion and myths about who is able to donate. Of the 2,126 adults surveyed, 20% believed it was true that having a tattoo would prevent them from donating, 16% felt the same about piercings, 15% believed that you can’t donate if you smoke and 3% thought vegetarians wouldn’t be able to donate. ***
We urge potential donors to check the donation criteria on the blood.co.uk website. While people currently need to wait four months after a new tattoo or piercing, there are no specific criteria preventing smokers or vegetarians from donating. Many people who believe they can’t donate, may discover they can.
NHS Blood and Transplant always needs first time donors to replace those who can’t donate any more, and to ensure we have the right mix of blood groups to meet patient needs.
More than half of our current blood donors are aged over 45 so it’s especially important that we recruit younger people to donate blood now and in the years to come. By becoming a blood donor you can help ensure that patients have access to the blood they need, when they need it.
NHS Blood and Transplant needs donors from all blood groups and communities but is particularly looking for new donors from black and Asian communities, and donors with the universal blood group O negative.
Less than half of people*** who signed up to give blood in January 2016 went on to donate during the year. Anyone who has registered to donate but hasn’t given blood yet, is encouraged to make 2017 the year they start saving lives.
Mike Stredder, Director of Blood Donation at NHS Blood and Transplant, said: “The New Year has traditionally been a time when people think about giving things up. This year we’re asking people to make a new kind of resolution and register to give blood. Or if you’ve already done so but haven’t managed to donate, we’d love to welcome you to one of our sessions in 2017. It’s easy to sign up to become a blood donor and book an appointment, online, via an app or on the phone. Each donation can potentially save up to three lives. In 2017 don’t just give up, give.”
In general, as long as you are fit and healthy, weigh over 7 stone 12 lbs (50kg) and are aged between 17 and 66 (up to 70 if you have given blood before) you should be able to give blood. If you are over 70, you need to have given blood in the last two years to continue donating.
If you’re already a blood donor, why not look into whether you could become a platelet donor. We particularly need donors with the A negative blood group as they can help any patient, regardless of blood type. One platelet donation can help up to three adults or twelve babies or children.
It’s quick and easy to register to become a blood donor, visit ww.blood.co.uk, download a give blood app, search 'NHSGiveBlood' in the app store or contact 0300 123 23 23. You can donate platelets at your nearest donor centre. If you already give blood, ask about platelet donation at your next appointment.
* NHS Blood and Transplant interviewed 2,126 adults aged 17-69 in England using an online omnibus. Interviewing took place between 6th and 9th December 2016, with fieldwork quotas set on age, gender region. The sample was further balanced according to social grade and working status, with the sample data weighted to known population profiles.
** 211 online adults aged 17-69 in England who have given blood in the past 2 years
*** NHSBT data. Only 46% of people who registered to give blood between January 1, 2016 and January 31, 2016 went to do donate.
Notes to editors