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NHS Blood and Transplant appeal for new blood donors

Author: NHS Blood & Transplant Published: 8th June 2015 15:41
O Negative blood bag image  
National Blood Week (8th to 14th June 2015) 

NHS Blood and Transplant Service is calling for new blood donors in England and Wales in National Blood Week from 8th to 14th June 2015, following a 40% drop in fresh volunteers in the past decade.

120,000 fewer people joined the blood donor register in 2014-15 than in 2004-05, which is raising concerns for future blood supplies. It is hoped the new campaign will bring 204,000 new volunteers.

NHSBT believes one of the main reasons is the increasing pressure on people's free time - citing longer commutes and the distractions of social media plus an increase in people having tattoos and piercings (4 month wait is required before giving blood again).

"We simply can't ignore the fact that there has been a stark reduction in the number of new donors coming forward - a trend seen across the world," said Jon Latham, Assistant Director for Donor Services and Marketing at NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT). Only about 3-4% of the current eligible population are regular donors.

He said that although the unit had enough stock for this year, this campaign was about "future-proofing for the next few years". We need these [new donors] to make sure it doesn't become critical," he told the BBC News website.

As about half of the NHSBT's current donors are over the age of 45, the unit is particularly calling for younger people to donate to ensure future stocks.

Black, Asian and minority ethnic people make up 14% of the eligible donor population in England and north Wales, but only 5% of them have given blood in the past 12 months.

Conditions such as sickle cell disease and thalassaemia are more prevalent among these people, and those affected require regular blood transfusions, ideally from donors with similar ethnic backgrounds.

The unit is also particularly interested in O-negative blood donors, as this type of blood can be given to anyone, regardless of their own blood group.

Who can donate and how?
  • Healthy 17- to 65-year-olds weighing at least 50kg (7st 12Ib) can donate
  • Men can donate four times a year, women three
  • About 470ml (just under a pint) is taken
  • With an appointment, it should take no more than an hour
  • A delay may be required after foreign travel, a tattoo or acupuncture
Missing Type Campaign 

NHSBT has been working with partners including retailers and brands including Waterstones, NOW TV, Green & Black's and Odeon Cinema, media companies and celebrities to promote blood donating volunteers. They have been removing the letters A, O and B (the letters that make up the blood groups) from their names on shop front signage and street names raising awareness of the need for more new blood donors with all blood types.

This ‘Missing Type' campaign highlights that if not enough new people donate blood and these ‘types' were to go missing in years to come, there wouldn't be enough blood available when patients need it. NHSBT needs new donors to fill the gaps left by existing donors who are not able to give blood at this time and to ensure that we have the right mix of blood groups to match patients' needs.

People from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic communities make up less than 5% of those who have donated blood within the last 12 months, despite representing around 14% of the population. So its vital to find more new donors from these communities to reflect and meet the needs of the changing population.

It is hoped that individuals will offer their support to the campaign via Twitter by removing letters from their tweets to spread the word through social media and dispel a number of misconceptions still exist about donating blood. Almost half (48%) of the people responding to an NHS Blood and Transplant survey said they think that the NHS asks friends and family to donate when a patient needs blood and 13% think that synthetic blood
is created to meet the national demand. However, 8 out of 10 people knew that unpaid volunteers are the way that blood stocks are maintained.

Waltham Abbey Blood Donation Dates

Don't delay book an appointment to give blood at Elphwood Scout Hall in Waltham Abbey, Essex, EN9 1RB, the upcoming dates for blood donations are as follows:

Wed 5th Aug 2015 from 13:00-15:00 & 16:30-19:30

Sun 6th Sep 2015 from 09:30-12:00 / 13:30-15:30

Mon 21st Dec 2015 from 13:00-15:00 / 16:30-19:30

Don't leave it to someone else - do something amazing - save a life - give blood!

For more information or to book an appointment, please call 0300 123 23 23 or go to NHS Blood & Transplant website

If you give blood in Waltham Abbey for the first time as a result of this year's National Blood Week campaign, please get in touch we would love to hear your story email us at jeffen9@aboutmyarea.co.uk 

Why not upload a photo of yourself or a friend giving blood or afterwards with your sticker and free drink & biscuit! Remember to include AboutMyArea/EN9 Twitter account @WalthamAnews and the blood service would love to see it too @GiveBloodNHS  


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Jeff & Kate Towerzey
At 20:33 on 19th June 2015, Jeff & Kate Towerzey responded:
The NHS Blood & Transplant "Missing Type" campaign for National Blood Week was a big success. Check out the Youtube video https://youtu.be/lk5kX331I7A

Looking forward to seeing some blood donor selfie photos from new Waltham Abbey donors! Well done to everyone who already donates regularly.

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