The need for blood

We need to make sure that we have enough supplies of all blood groups and blood types to treat all types of conditions.

By giving blood, every donor helps us meet the challenge of providing life-saving products whenever and wherever they are needed.

Maintaining the blood supply

We need to maintain a regular supply of all blood groups and types so we can provide it to the hospitals and patients who need it.  

Some rare sub-types are more common in Black communities, which is why we need more blood donors from Black, Asian and minority ethnic communities. 

We sometimes need to target specific blood types to increase stock levels. That's why we sometimes contact regular donors with the particular blood type we need, and ask them to give blood.

We are indebted to our regular blood donors for their role in helping us to save lives.

Rare blood types

O Rh negative blood is rare but essential because it is the only blood type that can be given to anyone, regardless of their blood type.

Donors with the blood group B Rh positive are more often found in Black and south Asian minority ethnic communities.

Similarly, some rare subtypes, such as Ro, are more common in Black communities. More about the need for blood donors from Black, Asian and minority ethnic communities.

Blood components

Your blood's main components are red cells, plasma and platelets. These are used to treat many different illnesses and conditions.

They have a short shelf life, so we always need to top up the supply:

  • red blood cells can be stored for up to 35 days
  • platelets can be stored for up to 7 days
  • plasma can be stored for up to 3 years