Is this the real life? Is this just fantasy?

Adults more likely to know lyrics from Bohemian Rhapsody than their own blood type

12 June 2015
  • Research reveals the random details we know compared to essential personal information
  • Only one in four young adults know their blood type – fewer than those who know their pet’s birthday or One Direction’s first band member departure
  • People in Plymouth and Milton Keynes least likely to know their blood type,  Brighton the most likely
  • One in three people will only discover their blood type when they donate

Friday 12 June 2015: This year, to mark World Blood Donor Day (Sunday 14 June), new research* by NHS Blood and Transplant has revealed we are more likely to know the lyrics to the Queen song ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ than our own blood type.

World Blood Donor Day is one of the six official international health days sanctioned by the United Nations and administered by the World Health Organisation. It creates awareness around the world for altruistic blood donation. 

Just 46% of English adults surveyed on behalf of NHS Blood and Transplant know their blood type, a piece of personal information made from the letters A, O or B.  By comparison we are more likely to be able to recall:

  • The lyrics from Queen’s ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ – 51%
  • Our bank account sort code – 48%
  • Our partner’s favourite sauce with chips – 43%
  • The identity of Luke Skywalker’s father – 41%

The survey’s results have been released to encourage people to register as blood donors and to start donating in future. NHS Blood and Transplant needs to collect more than 6,000 donations every day across England and North Wales.  Current donors and stocks are meeting the immediate needs of patients. The challenge is to ensure a sufficient supply of blood for the future. More new donors are needed to reverse a 10-year decline in new volunteers coming forward.

How people find out their blood type

Over one in three (34%) responding adults in England who know their type only did so after they donated blood for the first time.

Young UK adults

Young adults across the UK aged 18-24 are the least likely age group to know their blood group, with less than one in four (24%) knowing it. That’s compared to them knowing, from memory, that Zayn Malik was the first person to leave One Direction (66%), the identity of Luke Skywalker’s father (44%) and the birthday of a current or past pet (28%).

How the cities compare

The research also revealed that of adults questioned across England**, those in Brighton (57%), London (53%) and Southampton (50%) were most likely to know their blood group, compared to Bristol (37%), Leeds (36%), Plymouth (35%) Milton Keynes (35%) as the least likely. 

Across the nation, 120,000 fewer people attended a donor session to start donating blood in 2014/15 compared to 2004/5. Regular donations are crucial to saving and improving the lives of patients with cancer, blood disorders and those suffering medical trauma or undergoing surgery. In 2015, 204,000 new volunteers need to attend a session to donate to ensure that the nation’s blood stocks continue to remain at a safe level in the future and that people’s lives are saved.

In England, World Blood Donor Day is the climax of National Blood Week (June 8 -14). Over the last week, NHS Blood and Transplant has been drawing attention to the need for more people to sign up as blood donors through its ‘Missing Type’ campaign. Retailers and brands***, such as O2, Waterstones, Odeon, NOW TV, Not On The High Street, Green & Black’s Organic, Nando’s, Downing Street, British Gas, Santander, GAME, Heathrow and Aunt Bessie’s, as well as well-known personalities such as Gemma Styles and Jamie Oliver have got on board. They have been removing the letters A, O and B (the letters that make up the blood groups) from their names to highlight that if not enough new people come forward to donate blood and these ‘types’ were to go missing in years to come, there wouldn’t be enough blood available when patients need it.

While it’s not necessary to know your blood type before giving blood, NHS Blood and Transplant has been holding a number of ‘Know Your Group’ events around the country.  These events give people the chance to find out their likely blood group through a simple on the spot sample, as well as an opportunity to find out more about blood donation and to sign up to donate.

Jon Latham, Assistant Director for Donor Services and Marketing at NHS Blood and Transplant, says: “What blood group you are may not be important to you, or something you even know, but for us and for patients, blood groups are vital. It is always safest and preferable to give the same blood group to patients.

"You could be the key to saving or improving lives and each time you donate, you could help up to three people in just one hour. Giving blood is an amazing thing to do.

 “We’re always grateful to people who already give blood, but we want to remind others of our need for new donors. Now it’s time for you to show your support by registering to donate blood. You don’t need to know your blood group when you start donating or book your first appointment. Do something amazing, register to become a blood donor now.”

There are a number of ways you can support World Blood Donor Day and the Missing Type campaign:

  • If you are 17 or over, visit or call 0300 123 23 23 today to find out if you are eligible to donate, register as a blood donor and to book your appointment
  • Download our app by searching ‘NHSGiveBlood’ in the App store. It’s available for Android, Windows and Apple Smartphone and tablet devices
  • Show your support for blood donation on social media on World Blood Donor Day by posting about blood donation and removing the As, Os and Bs from your name on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram and use #missingtype
  • Twitter @givebloodnhs #missingtype
  • Facebook:
  • Instagram @GivebloodNHS
  • YouTube:

For more information please contact: / 020 3128 8545


*Research conducted by Populus, May 2015, in a survey of 2,012UK representative adults.  The figures and percentages given in the media outreach relate to the responses from people living in England.  There were 1,730 respondents in England.

**The cities provided were those respondents live in, or nearest to – please note low base sizes of less than 100

*** By Wednesday evening, more than 600 companies had publicly shown their support for the campaign. These include …


Hollow Legs (blog)

Women’s Cricket Blog


The Crafty Calf

Fire & Earth

Now TV

GOSH Scouts and Guides


Not on the High Street

London Ambulance

Transport for London

Green & Blacks

Royal College ObsGyn


Lincoln Film and Media

NHS Choices

Croxley Baptist

Pot Noodle

Steri Touch


H20 Creative

Bath College Student Union

Shree Swaminarayan Mandir Kingsbury

Midland Movies

Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust

Monkey Wellbeing

My All Search

Portsmouth College

Student Pulse London



One Stop Scouting Ltd

Concierge Medic

Oasis Lord’s Hill

Stone Working Tools

The Travelling Souk


MRB Design

Fylde and Wyre CCG

Knight Frank Sussex

Stamford Website

Register and Be

Acute Training

Walk in Foot Clinic

Citypress Birmingham

Danshell Group



Talk to TIM

Vegetarian Society

N2O Brand Activation


Perfect Circle Media


Aventa Plumbling and Heating

The Maltings Studio


Just Add Salt

SEO and Marketing Worm

Rita Sen Solicitors

Inbound SEO


Greater Manchester Fire & Rescue Service


Casa Security

Birkenhead Sixth Form

Men's Health Forum

Impatient NHS

Fleet Honda

Golden Wonder

More than Blended

London's Air Ambulance

Venture Thinking

EN Herts CCG

Royal Cornwall Hospital


University of Central Lancs

The Football League

Founded London


Church of England

Diva Creative


Anglia Ruskin SU

Media Comm North




Fairstead House School


Nottingham City Transport


Meantime Brewing

St John's Ambulance

Grayling North



Endeavour Explorers

Warmup UK

Rise Festival


Post Twit Notes

ACLT Charity


Communicate PLC

Rooftop Film Club



Bilborough College

South Yorks Housing Association


NHS Chorley Comissioning Group

Umega Lettings

Evangelical Alliance

NHS Greater Preston


Better Bathrooms

NHS Flyde and Wyre CCG

Monkey Well Being

Health Diagnostics

BME Health and Wellbeing

Hogrefe Ltd


Punktuate! London

Inside Media PR

Publicis Life Brands Resolute

Conciege Medical

Drink Aware


DropCap Copywriting

Humberside Fire

Jewish Museum London

Mid-Cheshire Hospitals

Being Well Salford

Cadbury College

Queen Victoria Hospital

Healthwatch Cambs

Department of Health

Radio Sonar

The Blood Bag Project

Cambridge IVF

DV8 Media

West Yorkshire Police

Parent's Guide

Anglia Ruskin Students Union

Cromwell Medical



UB41 BirmingJAM




Jewish Museum London

Edinburgh Marriott Hotel


1st Central Insurance

London Ambulance

Only Marketing

Judge and Howard

Saint Francis Hospice

Speaking of Research

Lincolnshire HC

Manchester Medical Services 

Sickle Cell Society


Do Something UK

Safer Solihull

Sheffield Hospitals Charity

British Gas

NHS Alliance

One Player Down

Giraffe Restaurant

Salix & Co

My Health Group

Columbia Surgery

HHS Sixth Form

Aberystwyth Students Union

Visual Studio UK

Herts Valley CCG

CP Nursing

O2 in the UK

Stavely Head

Bespoke PR

Powell and Co

British Science


Heathrow Airport

Cream Consultancy

Typaprint (NOTHS)

Yazoo Drinks

Health Trainers

The Wool Shop

St John Ambulance

The Booking Live Team

Black Belt Creative

Dove UK

RONIN Marketing

Print Bureau Team

East of England Ambulance Service

Rosie Hospital

LPW Technology

Hinchingbrooke Health Care

CUH Nursing


Tupe Map London



Sony Xperia GB

Amos and Tom's

King's College NHS

Tottenham Hotspur

Well Pharmacy

Barrow Sixth Form

Peninsula Community Health

Tickedy Boom Games

Molesley Boat Club

We Are Social

NHS Southend CCG

Trident Media

Dark Star Brewing

Hills Design

Essex SU


Daventry Town Council

Rock Corps

Tameside Council

Thurrock CCG

ACLT Charity

Borough of Poole

Little Moppets

Fife Sports and Leisure

IT Schools Africa

Fow Film Society

Rotherham NHS Trust

Little Party Pack

Phlebotomy Training

Gold Diggers

Calling Brands

MND South London

MHD Graphic Design


We are FLOCK

61st Cardiff Scout Group

Brand and Deliver

Wellcome Trust

Two Little Bees

Lincolnshire Bombers

West Yorkshire Police

Dacorum Heritage Trust

Contract Hire and Learning

BAA Apparel

South Yorkshire Fire

Brownlee Tri

Different Kettle

Public Health England

Worcestershire Acute

Get Reading

Bearwood SNT

Manchester NHS CATS

Toolkit websites

University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Trust

Take Note LTD


Crossrail Project

Arden at Crown Woods

Energy PR

Aberdeen Marriott Hotel

Ashford Astro Society

Independents United

Aunt Bessie's

BD Medical Training

Learning Zone


Wolves TKD

24 Marketing

Suth Comms

Crawford and Jones Ltd

Look Touch and Feel

Nomad Cinema

Dudley CCG

Tattoo Deals UK

Fourteen People

Carwarden House

Butterfly London

Attain Design

Sheffield Hospital Charity

Royal Free London

Crossley Heath Maths Department

Casa Security

WLMHT Liaison Pysch

The Eco PR Agency

Sussex Central RPU

Clearbox Comms



BOSCH DIY and Garden

Thames Valley Police

NHS Comms Org

Carousel PR


Open Gardens


Retox Digital

Michael House

PHRC Leeds

Kent & Medway NHS & Social Care Partnership Trust

Orka Marketing

Proman Healthcare

Richmond Towers

Wilkie May and Tuckwood


Salix & Co

The Storyhouse (NOTHS)

400 Communications


Family Music Sales

Brilliant Social Media


Holy Cross Theology

Preston City Council

Alcohol Concern

Birkenhead Sixth Form


Satellite PR

Gendall Design

Harvester Restaurant

PC Valet Ltd

Brand 8 PR

Trident Media

Health Communications

Gego Facts


Voluntary Action Calderdale

GAME Hamleys

Smith & Milton

Salford Sea Cadets


NHS Guildford and Waverley CCG


Wordplay Design

Shoot the moon

400 Communications

Trapeze Group UK

Cogent Elliott

Brilliant Social Media

Your World Healthcare

Bray Leino

Preston City Council

UCLan Health

EC Recruitment Team


Output magazine

Splash Worldwide

Harvester Restaurant

Common Time

Royal Liverpool University Hospital

Trident Media

Hollywood Pharmacy

Vibe Concepts


Genesis PR

Serving Humanity

Smith & Milton

Derby Hospitals NHS

Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust

NHS Guildford and Waverley CCG

Pelican Rouge

Wagamama UK

Shoot the moon


Liverpool Marriott Hotel City Centre 

Cogent Elliott

Signs Express Stockport


Bray Leino

Boxed Red

Stoke-on-Trent City Council


Go Cotswolds


Alcohol Concern

Bowel and Cancer Research

Phoenix Adam Ltd

Satellite PR

Collegiate Medical

OS Leisure


Central Bedfordshire Highways

Steps Training Ltd

TRAC Services

Ash Communications

Open House Products

We Love Digital

Huddersfield Business School

Living Beyond Diagnosis

Pink and Blues

Stokes & Moncreiff

Chief PR

Vale of York CCG

Media Octopus



Berkeley PR

Alderley Edge School For Girls

Whitfield Biz Hub

Crimson Cat


East Kent Hospitals

Citizens Advice Bolton


East Kent Hospitals University NHS Foundation Trust

Jeff Harris and Associates

Personalised Gifts



Mark Marking


Havas Lynx Europe

North Lancs Stop Smoking Service

Onyx Communications

MHS Homes

The Dart Dash

Very Helpers

Sharp Agency

Oldham Sixth Form College

Onelan Ltd

Skyjack Inc

Your Croydon

Essex SU

Scarlett & Mustard

Harrow Community First Responders


Corporate Creations


Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust

Tractor Outdoor

Kick Start Cancer Support

Curzon Creative

The Social Programme

Southampton City Clinical Commissioning Group

Zein Marketing

Kilpatrick PR

Arbuthnot Latham

Bescot Banter



DT&G Limited

Northampton General Hospital

Mortgage Brain

Salford Fire Team

Parkside Hospital

Paradigm Mortgage Services

Waterline Limited


Paradigm Protect

Feeling Fab

Physio Med

Healthwatch Trafford

Old Cinema

Skipton BS

Health Diagnostics

Hernshalls Insurance

Astrid & Miyu

Avon Valley A&W Park

Leeds Beckett Library

Your Heathrow

Qton Solutions

Obstetric Anaesthetists' Association 

The Industry Club


Jacob's Leg it 10K

Imperial College's Pre-hospital & Emergency Medicine Society

Share Your Job



Healthy Brum

National Locums

The Monopolys

Evangelical Alliance

YHA England & Wales

Insurance Octopus

Liberty Apps


DF London

Blue Jeans EME

Double S

NHS Wakefield CCG

Lee Jeans



Steel London






Health Care People



H4B Europe



About NHS Blood and Transplant:

  • NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT) is a joint England and Wales Special Health Authority. Its remit includes the provision of a reliable, efficient supply of blood and associated services to the NHS in England and North Wales. It is also the organ donor organisation for the UK and is responsible for matching and allocating donated organs
  • Donors can search for sessions, change their contact details, book appointments and change/cancel their appointments in real time on
  • There are apps available for Android, Windows and Apple Smartphone and tablet devices which enable donors to search for sessions based on your location, book and manage appointments.
  • NHSBT’s donor line - 0300 123 23 23 -is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week with all calls charged at the standard local rate, even from mobile phones
  • NHSBT collects 1.7 million units of blood each year from over 23,000 blood donation sessions in more than 3,000 venues
  • Only four per cent of the eligible population are active blood donors
  • A unit of blood is measured as 470mls (or just under a pint)
  • There are four main blood groups – O, A, B and AB. A regular supply of all blood groups is vital – red cells last 35 days and platelets only 7 days.
  • Maintaining a regular supply of group O Rh Negative is particularly important to respond to patient need.