Thousands of people stop giving blood in Norfolk and Suffolk
- Credit: Nick Butcher
Thousands fewer people are giving blood in Norfolk and Suffolk, according to new figures.
Statistics obtained through a Freedom of Information request show a growing fall in the number of blood donations made each year across the region.
It has dropped from 44,235 donations made in 2012/13 in Norfolk to just 36,900 in 2014/15.
Suffolk has experienced a similar drop, with 6,065 fewer donations since 2012.
The downward trend is continuing in this current year. NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT) said the decline was a reflection of the falling demand for blood across the UK.
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A spokesman said: 'While there is a continued demand for blood, it is now lower than it was. This is due to improvements in clinical and surgical practices.
'It is also due to our own efforts to ensure that blood is used appropriately and only where necessary in hospitals.' NHSBT stressed it needed new donors to come forward to replace those who have stopped. It also said there was a greater need for specific blood groups.
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A spokesman added: 'This means we may ask donors with certain blood groups, for example O Negative and B Negative, to donate as frequently as they can in line with the clinical guidance, but may invite donors with the other blood groups to donate less frequently.'
As well as a drop in people giving blood, the figures also show thousands of people in Norfolk and Suffolk do not turn up to booked donation sessions.
The service is having to overbook sessions as around 15pc of donors who make an appointment do not attend. A spokesman added: 'We encourage donors to book and keep appointments and ask them to make any changes to appointment times as early as they are able to. We send donors reminders ahead of appointments which allow good time for any changes to be made. Last-minute cancellations can make it difficult for us to fill donation slots.'
Meanwhile, the number of complaints made by blood donors after being turned away from a session has increased since 2013/14.
In 2013/14 the Norwich team received 12 complaints, while six were logged in Thetford.
In 2014/15 that number more than doubled in Norwich, with 37 complaints and 14 in Thetford.
A spokesman said: 'We understand that it can be disappointing if a donor is unable to donate, perhaps, for example, due to recent travel or blood iron levels, but the health and safety of donors and patients is paramount.'
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