Group A is the second largest blood group in the donor population. Of all the people needing blood at any given point in time, it is likely that group A will be needed by around a third of them. Being one of the largest blood groups doesn’t mean it’s all plain sailing though, as unsurprisingly it is also one of the most requested by hospitals. Maintaining collections to meet demand is a very precise balancing act.
Donors with blood group A - especially those with A negative - have a very important role in making platelets. Platelets are the component of blood essential for stopping bleeding and bruising and around 60% of platelets are used to help patients with cancer.
Group A platelets are essential as they can safely be given to patients from all ABO groups, making them extremely versatile and they are constantly in high demand.
Platelets last just seven days (compared to 35 days for red cells), so ensuring a regular and consistent supply is a high priority. Relatively small changes in the number of donations and/or hospital requests can have an immediate and significant effect on overall platelet levels. It is imperative that we predict and react quickly to any changes in demand and it is the support of our group A donors that makes all the difference at these times.