The pandemic caused a significant drop in blood donations last year, but as the NHS returns to normal activity it urgently needs more donors for people awaiting vital treatment. So long as you are fit and healthy, giving blood is quick, easy and, amazingly, can save up to three lives each time you give.
Last month the NHS launched its This is Amazing campaign to encourage more people to give blood. An unprecedented 100,000 new donors are needed to register and donate blood by spring 2022 to achieve the largest ever annual recruitment target and join the amazing 67,000 new donors who have already joined the club this year.
These new donors will fill the gaps left by those who retired from giving blood during the pandemic and help rebuild the number and blood-type mix of donors needed to sustain services.
Demand for blood dropped by 27 percent at the start of the pandemic as hospitals reduced elective care. As a result, collections were adjusted and reduced by 21 percent. This ensured that blood stocks remained above the six day target throughout. Demand for blood is now back at pre-pandemic levels and may increase in the coming months as hospitals continue to catch up on delayed activity.
There is a particular need to recruit more Black donors to help treat patients with sickle cell disorder, which is the fastest growing genetic blood condition in the UK and mostly affects Black people, for whom ethnically matched blood is critical for treatment.
Also needed are new donors with O negative blood, which is the universal type and is often used for medical emergencies – 45% of new donors are likely to have O positive or O negative blood.
Giving blood is quick and easy – they aim to have you in and out within an hour but the actual donation itself only takes around 10 minutes. Here’s a video of one of our team giving blood in Crediton recently.
Helen Duggan, Assistant Director of Donor Campaigns at NHS Blood and Transplant explains: “As hospitals catch up on routine care, we are facing a critical crossroads to meet the rise in demand for blood and are appealing for new donors to step forward and join this amazing group of lifesaving people.
“We need 450 new donors every day to help meet the needs of patients right now and in the future. Please join this amazing club today and book an appointment to be part of the NHS recovery.”
If you’d like to become a donor, all you have to do is take a look at the NHS Give Blood website and search for the venue closest to you. The Boniface Centre in Crediton hosts blood donation days as does Tiverton Rugby Club, Okehampton’s Charter Hall and other venues in Exeter.
Don’t worry if you can’t find an appointment straightaway - book ahead instead. People need blood all year round so your donation will still save lives, even if it's a few months in the future.