Now that summer is here with people spending time away from home, NHS Blood and Transplant is reminding people in Suffolk and Norfolk of the importance of taking the time to donate blood.
Some blood group stocks can dip in the summer and with red blood cells only having a shelf life of 35 days and platelets a shelf life of five days, blood cannot be stockpiled. Because of this, it is important that both existing and new blood donors come forward during the summer months, so we can ensure that vital supplies of blood are available for the patients that need them.
Currently 6,000 units of blood are needed everyday to help save the lives of sick and injured patients across England and North Wales. For some patients who have severe blood loss, such as those who have complications in childbirth or a traffic accident, a blood transfusion can make the difference between life and death.
Michelle Laserna, Senior Marketing Coordinator at NHS Blood and Transplant said: “We realise that when the schools break for summer that there are holidays and days out planned and it can be easy to put off giving blood. We’re asking you try to keep your appointment if at all possible but if you can’t, then please let us know by calling 0300 123 23 23 so that your appointment can be offered to someone else.
“There is also a bank holiday at the end of August, making a date to donate and keeping your appointment even more important as this is another time of year when blood donation can dip.”
Every blood donation is vital, but NHS Blood and Transplant particularly needs to ensure supplies of the universal blood group O Rh Negative which is often in short supply as demand is so great. We also need to ensure supplies of the rarer blood groups A Rh Negative, B Rh Negative and AB Rh Negative as these are also vulnerable to shortfall.
In general, as long as you are fit and healthy, weigh over 7 stone 12 lbs (50kg) and are aged between 17 and 66 (up to 70 if you have given blood before) you should be able to give blood. If you are over 70, you need to have given blood in the last two years to continue donating.
To book an appointment to donate visit www.blood.co.uk or call 0300 123 23 23 to find your nearest session.
It is also easy to book through mobile apps for Windows, Android and Apple devices. To download the app, search ‘NHSGiveBlood’ in the app store.