NHS calls for more blood donors following shortage

NHS are appealing for more blood donations as stocks of O negative and B negative fall short due to a bank holiday drop off in donations.

NHS Blood and Transplant needs donors with O negative and B negative blood to donate now as stocks are low due to a drop off in donations and an increase in demand for certain blood types.

NHS Blood and Transplant is a joint England and Wales Special Health Authority responsible for ensuring a safe and efficient supply of blood to the NHS in England.

The lack of O negative and B negative donors giving blood in the run up to the bank holiday has meant that stocks of these groups are low. NHS Blood and Transplant is asking anyone who knows they have these blood types, but may have not donated before, to give blood now.

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There is a longer-term problem putting real pressure on these blood groups, particularly stocks of O negative.

O negative is increasingly being used as an emergency substitute for a rare Ro blood because the NHS doesn’t have enough Ro blood to meet demand. This blood subtype is more common in black people, but most people don’t know they have this subtype until they donate.

Mike Stredder, Director of Blood Donation at NHS Blood and Transplant said: “The overall demand for blood is declining year on year. However, the need for specific blood groups such as Ro blood type and O negative are on the increase.

“We need an additional 4,000 regular O negative donors to those we have now to consistently provide seriously ill patients with the blood they need. If you know you are O negative or B negative and have never donated before, now is the time to make a difference.

“If you are O or B negative, please call us on 0300 123 23 23 to get a priority appointment or walk in to one of our fixed site donor centres to give blood.”

Currently, there are a reported 15,000 people living with Sickle Cell in the U.K., and over 300 new babies are born each year with the condition. The urgent need for O negative and B negative is driven by changes in how Sickle Cell is treated, which has significantly driven up demand.

O negative is also the ‘universal’ blood group and is often used when a patient’s blood type is not known, like in emergency situations.

B negative stocks are low also because many patients with serious blood disorders, like Sickle Cell, need B negative blood. Only 2 per cent of donors are B negative and it is a blood group more common in black people.

O negative and B negative donors can walk in and donate at permanent donor centres, without the need to make an appointment or can call 0300 123 23 23 to ask for a priority appointment at a community blood sessions.