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Urgent call for blood donations before Easter break

NHS Blood and Transplant urgently needs people to donate before Easter because blood stocks are well below normal levels.

29 March 2018

Blood stocks still well below normal levels despite calls for help to recover after the recent bad weather.

Blood stocks remain well below normal levels despite NHS Blood and Transplant urging donors to help them recover.

There are serious concerns that stocks could fall even further over Easter as people go on holiday or enjoy days out with the family and don’t donate.

Blood stocks graphic

Current stocks of some blood groups like B negative, O negative and B positive remain stubbornly below 3 days – when the ideal is to have over 6 days in order to provide hospitals with the blood they need to treat patients.

Hospitals across England need more than 6,000 blood donations every day to treat patients in emergency situations or with ongoing treatment for things like blood disorders or cancers.

Mike Stredder, Director of Blood Donation at NHS Blood and Transplant, said:

“We urgently need those who are able to donate to book an appointment or if they live near to one of our main donor centres to walk in and give blood.

“It’s vital that we have enough blood to get through the bank holiday weekend and that stocks don’t dip further. We lost 6-7,000 units of stock recently because of the bad weather and we are still struggling to pick that back up.

“Anyone who can donate please do come forward. We have put on extra sessions to help us recover, but there are still appointments available at many of our donor centres and I would say to anyone who hasn’t donated before that there’s no better time than now.”

There are 23 dedicated blood donor centres in England. Donor centres are bright and modern venues with free Wifi, with longer opening hours than community venues and there are still appointments available in most of them, with many putting on extra sessions throughout April.

  • Make and keep your appointment by calling the Donor Line on 0300 123 23 23 or visit www.blood.co.uk
  • It is also easy to book through mobile apps for Windows, Android and Apple devices. To download the app, search 'NHSGiveBlood' in the app store.

Ends

  • For additional information please contact the NHSBT Press Office on 01923 367600 or email pressoffice@nhsbt.nhs.uk
  • For urgent out of hours enquiries please call 0117 969 2444

Notes to editors

  • NHS Blood and Transplant is a joint England and Wales Special Health Authority. We are responsible for ensuring a safe and efficient supply of blood and associated services to the NHS in England. We are also the organ donation organisation for the UK and are responsible for matching and allocating donated organs.
  • We are an essential part of the NHS and take pride in saving and improving lives by making the most of every voluntary donation, from blood and organs to tissues and stem cells.
  • Our work would not be possible without our donors - ordinary people doing extraordinary things by saving and improving the lives of others.
  • To find out more visit: www.nhsbt.nhs.uk
  • Follow us on social media
  • Blood donors can search for sessions, book appointments, change/cancel their appointments and change their contact details in real time at blood.co.uk
  • There are apps available for Android, Windows and Apple Smartphone and tablet devices which enable donors to search for sessions based on their location and book and manage appointments.
  • Our 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
  • NHS Blood and Transplant needs to collect 1.5 million units of blood each year to meet the needs of patients across England. It’s important that we collect the right amount of each blood group at the right time to meet patient needs. 
  • There are four main blood groups – O, A, B and AB. Group O is the most common and therefore the most in demand. A regular supply of blood is vital – red cells last 35 days and platelets only 7 days.
  • The overall demand for blood is falling by 3-4% per year.  This is due to improvements in clinical practice and is a trend that is being seen around the world. The drop in demand for blood is also thanks to our work with hospitals to ensure blood is used appropriately for patients.
  • We need nearly 200,000 new blood donors each year to replace those who no longer donate for reasons such as ill health, pregnancy or foreign travel and to ensure we have the right mix of blood groups to match patient needs in the future
  • Some blood groups, such as O negative (the universal blood group), A negative and B negative are particularly vulnerable to shortfalls. So we want people with those blood groups to donate as regularly as they can.  We also need more black African, black Caribbean, mixed race and South Asian people to become blood donors to reflect the ethnic diversity of patients.
  • Female whole blood donors can give blood every 16 weeks, while male blood donors must wait 12 weeks between donations. Platelets can be donated every 2 weeks.
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