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North Wales asks for more blood donors

UK blood services to support each other when stocks are low, says the Welsh Blood Service. Picture of  Welsh Blood Service

UK blood services to support each other when stocks are low, says the Welsh Blood Service. Picture of Welsh Blood Service


North Wales, as it faces a shortage of blood, is asking for more donors, while South, Mid & West Wales maintain stable stocks.

This is a global problem. The World Health Organization says only 10 per cent of people who are eligible to donate blood are currently doing so.
NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT), the organisation that collects blood from donors across North Wales but also England, made a special appeal last Friday.

Jon Latham, Assistant Director for Marketing at NHS Blood and Transplant, said: “Stocks of O negative and B negative are lower than we would like them to be and we are asking both O negative and B negative blood donors in particular to call us now to make an appointment to donate.”

“We hope our fantastic donors respond to this appeal and that they bear with us if there are slightly longer waits than normal on session as a result,” he added.

The NHSBT explained that although the requirement for blood from hospitals in North Wales has reduced in recent years, stocks of O negative and B negative blood are currently at their lowest level for four years.

O negative blood is especially needed because of ethnic minority groups, who are more likely to have this type and are more prone to particular diseases that require blood, such as sickle cell anaemia.

The Welsh Blood Service, the unit that collects blood in South, Mid & West Wales, does not face the same problem but is ready to help if there is a request.
“We always need the support of our donors and for people to come forward to donate, however at the present time there is no immediate urgency and we would encourage people to come along to their regular donation clinic when we are next in their area,” communication and media officer Kate Hammond said.
She added: “We have an agreement with our other UK blood services where we will import/export blood if stocks of a particular blood group are low, enabling us to support each other at challenging times,” she explained.

Ms Hammond also said that no request that she is aware of has been made by the NHSBT so far.

The Welsh Blood Service’s report shows that it has collected around 340 units of blood every working day between April 2012 and March 2013. Annually 85, 535 units of full blood donations are collected.

NHSBT collects 1.8 million units of blood each year from over 23,000 blood donation sessions in more than 3,000 venues.

There is still a need to bring more people to become blood donors. The Welsh Blood Service says in one of its campaigning videos that “one in three people in Wales know someone that will need blood in their lifetime but only one in 30 ever donate”.

The blood donation rate in high-income countries is 39.2 donations per 1000 population, 12.6 donations in middle-income, and four donations in low-income countries.

For those in South, Mid & West Wales interested in donating, visit the Welsh Blood Service website: welshblood.org.uk or call them on 0800 25 22 66

NHSBT’s donor line is 0300 123 23 23. The website is http://www.blood.co.uk/

Videos of the Welsh Blood Service:

By Carla Guerreiro Santos

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