Winter appeal to Luton donors to give blood now to save lives

Fears growing of increasing demands on the NHS

Saturday, 20th November 2021, 12:07 am
Updated Saturday, 20th November 2021, 12:08 am
Blood donors in Luton are being urged by the NHS to make and keep an appointment to donate over the coming weeks

Blood donors in Luton are being urged by the NHS to make and keep an appointment to donate over the coming weeks to help build blood stocks ahead of a critical winter period.

Extra appointments are being added to make it as easy as possible to find a convenient slot and every donation can potentially save three lives.

Existing donors, including those who usually donate less regularly or people who have not given blood in a while, are needed at this crucial time to book an extra appointment before Christmas if enough time has lapsed since their last donation.

Only 3 in 5 of appointments for next week at Luton Donor Centre are currently filled.

Donor and staff absences – mostly due to seasonal illnesses and Covid-19 - is putting pressure on NHS Blood and Transplant’s ability to make the most of all appointments at this critical time.

Ahead of winter it is vital to build blood stocks to ensure the service can cope with the impact that bad weather, seasonal illnesses and donation dropping off the ‘to-do’ list can have on overall stock levels. This year covid-19 and a more severe cold and flu season is exacerbating usual winter pressures.

NHS Blood and Transplant currently has enough blood and services to hospitals as normal, but stocks are currently a day below the usual aim of six days and even more is needed to help meet a potentially challenging winter. Right now there is a particular need for donors with O positive and O negative blood types, though all types remain in demand.

Claire Anthony, Central South Area manager at NHS Blood and Transplant said: “Winter is always a challenging period for blood stocks, but seasonal pressures are happening earlier and we are concerned that the colder weather and higher rates of cold and flu alongside covid-19 could make the situation more critical this year.

“This is why we need our amazing existing and returning donors in Luton – and particularly those with type O blood – to act now to help build stocks ahead of winter to ensure patients continue to get the lifesaving blood they need. If you are fit and healthy and already donate, please make and keep an appointment for the coming weeks – every appointment counts.

“It is now easier than ever to make and search for an appointment via our more user-friendly and redesigned NHS Give Blood App.”

Existing or previous donors play an important role at times when every appointment counts because their blood type is known and they are more likely to be able to donate successfully, helping to ensure the right volume and mix of blood types is collected.

For those who have already made an appointment there is a plea to help ensure as many donations go ahead as possible by keeping to the appointment or giving as much notice as possible (ideally seven days) if there is a need to reschedule so the slot can be offered to another donor.

Luton has a permanent blood donor centre at St George’s Square, 4 Bridge St, LU1 2NF

Book appointments and check the latest guidance on Covid-19 and giving blood by visiting www.blood.co.uk, calling 0300 123 23 23 or downloading the NHS Give Blood app.

If you are fit and healthy please make an appointment to donate. If you need to reschedule please give as much notice as possible so the place can be offered to another donor. Give blood and help save or improve up to three lives. All it takes is just one hour of your time.

Blood is needed to treat patients with cancer, blood disorders and those suffering medical trauma or undergoing surgery. Each donation can save or improve up to three lives.