NHS calls for blood donations before Christmas
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More than 200,000 blood donations are needed before Christmas.
NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT) say supplies 'drop dramatically' during the run up the festive season as people are more busy with shopping and extended holidays.
Last year one in five blood donor appointments were missed over Christmas, putting NHS Blood and Transplant's critical operation under unnecessary pressure.
Jon Latham, NHSBT assistant director, said: 'At this time of year many people want to give something more than material gifts. A blood donation truly is the gift only you can give and with one single donation you can save or improve up to three lives.
'Don't worry if you've never given blood before – now is a great time to sign up and start giving.'
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Blood donations are used to treat patients with cancer, anaemia, after accidents, childbirth complications and during surgery.
And 12,500 platelet donations are needed to help treat patients with blood disorders and those who have undergone transplants.
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Every blood donation is vital, but the NHS are particularly keen to increase stocks for rarer blood groups such as O Rh Negative, A Rh Negative, B Rh Negative and AB Rh Negative.
The four main blood groups are O, A, B and AB. A regular supply of all blood groups is vital – red cells last 35 days and platelets only seven days.
Currently the NHSBT collects 1.8 million units of blood each year from over 23,000 blood-donation sessions in more than 3,000 venues but only 4pc of the eligible population are active blood donors.
Female blood donors can give blood every 16 weeks and male donors every 12 weeks, and platelets can be donated every two weeks.
How to donate
To book an appointment to donate visit www.blood.co.uk or call 0300 123 2323 to find your nearest session.
Appointments can also be booked and managed through mobile apps for Windows, Android and Apple devices. To download the app, search 'NHSGiveBlood' in the app store.
Donors can search for sessions, change their contact details, book appointments and change/cancel their appointments in real time on www.blood.co.uk.
NHSBT's donor line - 0300 123 23 23 - is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week with all calls charged at the standard local rate, even from mobile phones.
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