Urgent call for West Sussex blood donors to save lives

A ‘stark reduction’ in the number of donors giving blood across West Sussex could be critical for those having life-saving procedures.

Could you give blood?
Could you give blood?

NHS Blood and Transplant has revealed that 40 per cent fewer new volunteers came forward a to give blood last year compared to a decade ago.

As part of National Blood Week, which runs from June 8-14, the organisation is calling for more people to help fill the gaps by starting to donate in West Sussex.

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More than 200,000 people across England are need to come forward to keep blood stocks at a safe level.

A spokesman for NHS Blood and Transplant said: “Regular donations are crucial to saving and improving the lives of patients with cancer, blood disorders and those suffering medical trauma or undergoing surgery.”

Only 2,600 new volunteers came forward to donate blood for the first time in West Sussex last year, fewer than 5 per 1,000 of the estimated number of people between the ages of 17 and 70 living in the county.

There are 29 active donors per 1000 people in West Sussex.

More than 15,900 people living in West Sussex donated blood at least once last year, saving or improving up to three lives each time they did so.

Jon Latham, Assistant Director for Donor Services and Marketing at NHS Blood and Transplant, said: “We simply can’t ignore the fact that there has been a stark reduction in the number of new donors coming forward - a trend seen across the world.

“While we can meet the needs of patients now, it’s important we strengthen the donor base for the future.

“If we don’t attract new people across England and North Wales to donate it will put more pressure on the ability to provide the right type of blood the NHS needs for patients in the future.

“We know that people’s lives have got busier over the last decade.

“People are working longer hours, commuting further, spending more time online and have less time of their own, despite more options of how to use it. “Good causes are also competing increasingly for people’s attention and time.

“Travel to more exotic places, tattoos and investigations such as endoscopy are becoming more common and these lead to short term deferrals from donation.

“These are just some of the reasons why we’ve seen a decline in new people starting to donate.

“Giving blood is an amazing thing to do. If you live in West Sussex and haven’t donated before, please help us reverse the decline in new donors.

“We run a number of sessions in the area.

“Giving blood is simple and easy to do and will only take about an hour of your time. It could literally be a matter of life and death for somebody else.”

To register, find out more or book an appointment visit www.blood.co.uk or call 0300 123 2323.

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