Blood donations soar

MARK NICHOLLS Blood stocks at hospitals across the eastern region were kept topped up over the festive period, after a huge number of donations.

MARK NICHOLLS

Blood stocks at hospitals across the eastern region were kept topped up over the festive period, after a huge number of donations.

Traditionally, stocks fall - often significantly - over the Christmas and New Year period, potentially putting lives at risk.

But figures show that donations rose by 10pc across the eastern region, with a “staggering” 22,517 blood donations collected at donor sessions during December, keeping blood banks at hospitals across the region fully-stocked.

Gareth Bell, from the National Blood Service (NBS), said: “Christmas is always an important time for blood collections as some blood products can only be stored for a maximum of five days. For this reason it is essential that donors continue to give on a regular basis.

“Although the NBS received tremendous support during Christmas, we must not rest on our laurels - new donors are always needed. Each year 15pc of donors cannot continue to donate due to age and ill health and these must be replaced.”

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And he added: “Giving blood is so simple but it has huge consequences for hospital patients in need of a transfusion.

“Why wait until someone close to you needs blood before you make a lifesaving commitment? Start this year with the most important New Year's resolution you could ever make - to save lives by becoming a blood donor.”

The NBS says that thanks to the high number of donations, several lives have potentially been saved.

Traditionally blood stocks fall by up to 10pc in the lead up to Christmas, but the NBS bucked this trend in 2006.

Currently, blood stocks across England and north Wales stand at around six days' supply, which is high after an extended bank holiday period.

In the Anglia region, blood collections were mainly unaffected by the festivities.

To be potentially eligible to become a blood donor, you must be aged 17-59, weigh more than 7st 12lbs (50kg) and be in good health. New, returning and regular donors are welcome.

For details, call the NBS helpline on 08457 711711 or log on to www.blood.co.uk