O positive and O negative donors asked to urgently book appointments to give blood following London hospitals IT incident

10 June 2024

England’s top doctor has today (Monday 10 June) backed calls from NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT) for O Positive and O Negative blood donors to urgently book appointments to donate in one of the 25 town and city centre NHS Blood Donor Centres in England, to boost stocks of O type blood following the cyber incident in London.

Blood donor centre signIt comes as the NHS reveals this week – National Blood Week - that three blood donations are needed every minute in hospitals to deal with emergencies, childbirth and routine treatments as it calls on more people to become lifesaving donors.

There are around 13,000 appointments available nationally this week in NHS Blood Donor Centres with 3,400 available in London alone.

The NHS is advising all patients to continue coming forward as normal following the cyber-attack.

How the cyber-attack is impacting blood stocks

The IT incident affecting a pathology provider means the affected hospitals cannot currently match patients’ blood at the same frequency as usual.

For surgeries and procedures requiring blood to take place, hospitals need to use O type blood as this is safe to use for all patients and blood has a shelf life of 35 days, so stocks need to be continually replenished.

That means more units of these types of blood than usual will be required over the coming weeks to support the wider efforts of frontline staff to keep services running safely for local patients.

Why O type is so important

O negative is the type that can be given to anyone – known as the universal blood type. It is used in emergencies or when a patient’s blood type is unknown. Air ambulances and emergency response vehicles carry O negative supplies. Just 8 per cent of the population have type O Negative but it makes up for around 15 per cent of hospital orders.

O positive is the most common blood type – 35 per cent of donors have it – and it can be given to anybody with any positive blood type. This means three in every four people, or 76 per cent of the population, can benefit from an O positive donation.

Spokespeople statements

This National Blood Week also marks the start of a big summer push by NHSBT for new donors to come forward and register.

Find out more about National Blood Week.