Warning over supply of blood stocks

Outbreaks of the winter vomiting bug have hit blood stocks across the region with the supply now down to about four days.

Outbreaks of the winter vomiting bug have hit blood stocks across the region with the supply now down to about four days.

The National Blood Service says that stocks traditionally fall over Christmas and New Year with fewer people donating.

But the norovirus bug has further reduced the pool of donors and hit blood stocks.

While they are not yet at the critical level where operations and routine procedures in hospitals across the region are affected, the NBS is urging people across Norfolk, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire to come forward to give blood.

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In a message to donors, Gareth Bell from the NBS in Norfolk, said: “It is important to be clear that the NBS is continuing to meet all hospital requirements for blood but this will only continue to be possible with your support.

“Blood stocks do traditionally dip at this time of the year, mainly due to holidays, colds and flu. However, this year, stocks are lower than might normally be expected. As well as traditional illnesses the current winter vomiting norovirus has reduced the pool of donors we are able to call upon at this time.

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“There is no better time to roll up your sleeves and start giving blood. All it takes is one hour of your time and you might even help save a life.”

The NBS has been working to increase stock levels by stepping up marketing to encourage people to come and give blood now. As ever, the service is working with hospitals to ensure the most effective use of blood.

It says this year 35,000 people will need to walk through the doors of their local blood donor session to keep Norfolk's banks well stocked, yet only 4pc of people who could give blood actually do so.

In most cases anyone aged 17 to 59, who is generally fit and healthy, weighing over 7st 12lbs (50kgs) can start to give blood and once registered can continue to donate until they are 70.

A unit of blood is measured as 470mls, or just under a pint, and blood donors can give every 16 weeks.

Of the four main blood groups - O, A, B and AB - group O is the most common and the most in demand.

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