'Demand for blood doesn't stop for Christmas' - Donors urged to keep appointments
NHS Blood and Transplant
Blood donors in Suffolk are being urged to keep their lifesaving appointments before Christmas as missed sessions could hit stock levels over the critical festive period.
NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT) is warning that a serious drop in donations – through cancellations or missed appointments – could affect the supply of blood to people who need transfusions over Christmas.
NHSBT says around one in four appointments to give blood were cancelled at short notice in the week before Christmas last year, and one in 10 people failed to turn up altogether.
People being busy with celebrations over Christmas is cited as a main reason for cancellations and missed appointments, along with bad weather – which can keep donors away.
Donors who need to cancel are being urged to give at least three days’ notice so the slot can be given to someone else.
NHSBT says it is particularly important that donors of vulnerable blood groups such as O-negative, B-negative, and A-negative keep their appointments.
Mike Stredder, director of blood donation for NHS Blood and Transplant, said: “Please keep your appointment to give blood.
“If you are having difficulties making your appointment, please make sure you contact us. We need to collect blood throughout December to build up stocks in time for Christmas.
“Demand for lifesaving blood doesn’t stop for Christmas. But stock levels can drop dramatically if too many donor appointments go missed or unfilled.
“We know that donations slump and missed appointments rise in the middle of December and the cold weather forecast could make the situation worse.
“We need our loyal donors more than ever at this time of year, to make sure hospitals have the blood that seriously ill children and adults will need over Christmas and the new year. Each donation can save up to three lives.”
NHSBT says existing blood donors are being prioritised for appointments in the run up to and over Christmas so it can collect the right amount of blood that patients need at this critical time of year.
New donors who have registered but not yet donated are being asked to make an appointment for the new year.
People can make and change appointments by calling 0300 123 23 23 or online at www.blood.co.uk