East of England blood donors needed with Olympics on the horizon

WITH the Olympic Games, Diamond Jubilee and a number of other high-profile events due to take place this summer an appeal has gone out for more people across the East of England to donate blood.

It was launched by NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT) in a bid to boost blood stocks to 30 per cent above usual levels by the start of London 2012 in July.

This is because NHSBT say that in the past even regular donors have missed appointments during national events and celebrations as routine are disrupted.

Not only this, but combined with the high numbers of international visitors with a different native blood mix to those in the UK, the authority said it may also put high demand on specific blood groups.

Jon Latham, spokesman for NHS Blood and Transplant, said: “This year we have a unique situation and need donors from the East of England 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.”

Active donors in particular, including over 181,000 in the East of England region, are being asked to make an appointment if they are eligible between now and the start of the Olympics, to help build stocks before the major events begin.

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Donors of all blood groups are needed but there are particularly high national targets for the following blood groups to help build and adjust the blood mix:

• 52 per cent increase needed of O+ with over 65,000 active donors in the East of England able to help

• 43 per cent of O- with around 17,800 active East of England donors

• 14 per cent of B- with just 3,569

Ahead of the summer events additional appointments have been created and selected blood donor sessions have extended opening hours to give donors more flexibility to schedule a visit to their local session at a convenient time.

People who have not donated before and may not know their blood type are also encouraged to help with the national stock-build effort by making an appointment now to donate for the first time.

Blood donations are a vital resource to help treat health conditions including cancer and long term illnesses, people involved in accidents and in maternity care.

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

If you are eligible to donate or are thinking of donating for the first time, visit blood.co.uk or call 0300 123 23 23.