Dr Nick Tupper blog: Worrying fall in number of blood donors

nicktupperIf you’ve ever needed a transfusion you’ll no doubt always be grateful to the person who took the time to give their blood. Such donors are unsung heroes, ordinary people who willingly roll up their sleeve to help save someone else’s life.

Worryingly though, new figures have revealed that 40% fewer volunteers – around 120,000 people – came forward across England and North Wales to give blood last year compared to a decade ago. I am a donor and I encourage other Doncaster people to give blood as regular donations are crucial to saving and improving the lives of patients with cancer, blood disorders and those suffering medical trauma or undergoing surgery.

NHS Blood and Transplant, the organisation responsible for keeping the nation’s blood stocks at a safe level, has launched a campaign called Missing Type to promote blood donation. They have encouraged big organisations like Waterstones and Odeon Cinema to remove the letters A, O and B from their names to raise awareness of the need for new donors with all blood types.

I’m pleased to say that our CCG is backing the campaign – hence the photograph alongside of our HQ which has been ‘doctored’ electronically.

The campaign cleverly highlights that if not enough new donors come forward and these ‘types’ were to go missing in years to come, there wouldn’t be enough blood available when patients need it. It could be you – imagine that?

This year, around 200,000 new donors need to attend a session to donate to ensure we keep national blood stocks at a safe level. A survey found the main reasons why people don’t give blood are: knowing it’s a good thing to do but not getting round to it (27%); fear of needles (22%); and believing they are not eligible to donate, which may not be the case (21%).

Interestingly, 86% of responders who had given blood felt it was as expected, or easier than they expected it to be. Some 56% said it made them feel worthwhile and 27% said it made them feel they were giving something back to society.

If you are 17 or over visit www.blood.co.uk or call 0300 123 23 23 to find out if you are eligible to donate, register as a donor and book your appointment. There is a section on the website where you can type in your postcode to see when then the next donation session is taking place near to where you live in Doncaster.

Coming up are sessions at Thorne Trinity Academy on Sat 27 June; Doncaster Racecourse on Sat 2 July; and Pastures Lodge, Mexborough on Tues 7 July.

Over a quarter of us will need blood at some time in our lifetime. So please do something amazing in Doncaster – give blood, so it’s there when we need it.

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