Major events in Britain create fear of too little donor blood

 

Source: The Reading Chronicle/Google 

 

Great Britain's summer of celebrations could cause a shortage of blood stocks and an appeal has gone out to new and regular donors to help increase supplies by 30%.

 

With the unusually high number of public events in Britain this year, including the Olympics, Paralympics and the Queen's Diamond Jubilee, National Health Service Blood and Transplant (NHSBT) fears even regular donors will miss appointments because of other distractions.

 

It highlights the fact that blood stocks fell 20% during the 2006 football World Cup through donors not turning up. The problems could increase if the high numbers of international visitors with a different native blood mix put increased demand on specific blood groups.

 

Active donors in particular, including 120,000 in London itself, are being asked if they are eligible to make an appointment to give blood between now and the start of the Olympics, to help build stocks before the major events begin.

 

NHSBT spokesman Jon Latham said: "This year we have a unique situation and need donors from London and across the country to help counterbalance the inevitable dip in donations as people celebrate a memorable summer for the whole country. We need to adjust the mix of stocks so we are well prepared as a responsible host for these exciting events."

 

Donors of all types are needed to help build stock but there are particularly high national targets for O+, with 52% more donations needed, O- with 43% and B- with 14%.

 

Extra appointments will be available and in some centres donor sessions have extended their opening hours. People who haven't donated before and may not even know their blood type are also being encouraged to get involved for the first time.

 

Hospitals in England and North Wales need 7,000 units of blood daily and each unit saves or improves the lives of three patients.

 

New donation criteria means men can now donate blood more frequently - four times in 12 months as long as they wait 12 weeks between donations.

 

Anyone eligible to donate or thinking of doing it for the first time should visit blood.co.uk or ring 0300 123 23 23 to make an appointment.