NHS Blood and Transplant renews plea for blood donors

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NHS Blood and Transplant

NHS Blood and Transplant are urging people in London to give blood as new targets reveal 42,085 new donors are needed in the region to save lives over the next year.

This includes 9.162 new donors needed at Shepherd’s Bush Donor Centre, a target of 8,162 new donors at Stratford Donor Centre and 7,074 new donors required for West End Donor Centre.

Nationally one million more blood donors are needed over the next five years to ensure patients receive the right type of blood to save and improve their lives, with a particular need for Black African, Black Caribbean and younger donors.

The five-year Blood Service Strategy, published today at the start of National Blood Week, sets ambitious plans to recruit up to a million new donors and double the number of regular donors with the rarest blood types. This will ensure better matched blood types for patients in the future and reduce health inequalities.

Most people know the main blood types – O positive (35 per cent of the population), O negative (13 per cent), A positive (30 per cent), A negative (8 per cent), B positive (8 per cent), B negative (2 per cent), and AB positive (2 per cent). But the public is less familiar with the many sub-types that can provide an even better match to improve their treatment.

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There is a particular urgency for more donors of Black African and Black Caribbean ethnicity to treat people with sickle cell. Sickle cell is the fastest growing genetic blood disorder in the UK and mostly affects people of Black heritage. It requires regular transfusions – most often with the specific blood sub type Ro.

Most patients are children, and demand for Ro blood is projected to double from 2016/17 – 2025/26. Fifty five percent of Black blood donors have the Ro subtype compared to 2.4% of donors from other ethnicities.

Stephen Cornes, Director of Blood Supply at NHS Blood and Transplant said: “Currently we can only meet around half of the demand for Ro blood through our existing donor base and demand for this rare blood type is rising.

“This means many sickle cell patients often receive less well-matched blood which, while clinically suitable, can pose a longer-term risk to patients who receive regular transfusions. We urgently need new Black African and Black Caribbean donors to come forward and donate blood.

“In addition to the rarest blood types, we also need 1 million new donors over the next five years of all blood types. As the NHS treats more patients, we need to grow the total number of donors too.

“We carefully manage stocks to ensure we do not waste any precious blood. If you cannot get an appointment immediately it is because we have enough of your blood type right now. Please book for a later date or respond when we contact you.”

Visit blood.co.uk to book a donation.

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