Black blood donors urgently needed in Luton to help tackle illnesses such as sickle cell disease

NHS Blood Centre in St George's Square
NHS Blood Centre in St George's Square

Health bosses have announced an urgent need for blood donors with Ro type blood to donate to help tackle illnesses such as Sickle cell disease.

The news comes just as Luton was praised for a 25% increase in blood donors from the black community in the past year, according to NHS Blood & Transplant (NHSBT) figures released on Monday.

But the NHSBT urgently need more black blood donors as they are more likely to have the blood type needed to treat the increasing number of patients suffering from sickle cell disease - a blood disorder that is more common in people of Afro-Carribean ethnicity.

A NHSBT spokesman said: "There is an urgent need for donors with Ro blood as only 2% of our donors have Ro type blood.

"Collecting enough is a constant challenge. Ro is often used to save people with the rare blood disorder sickle cell disease.

"Ro blood is ten times more common in black people than in white people."

Luton Blood Donor Centre is located in St George's Square, and is one of just 23 permanent donation centres run by NHSBT across the country,

Mike Stredder, director of blood donation, said: “This month we can celebrate how more and more black people in Luton are saving lives by donating blood.

“However the shortage of black donors remains, which makes it harder to find the best matched blood for black people, putting them at greater risk of potentially life threatening transfusion reactions.

“Blood donation is quick, easy and safe and we urge people of black heritage in Luton to register as donors to help save lives.”

To become a blood donor or make an appointment, call 0300 123 23 23 or visit www.blood.co.uk.