NHS calls for more men to donate blood in Luton
There is a vital need for more more men in Luton to start donating blood this year due to an imbalance in the gender of new donors across the country.
Although the gender split was almost equal in Luton last year - 493 women and 490 men started to donate at Luton Donor Centre - nationally only 43% of donors are now men.
The national trend is a concern because men have higher iron levels, and only men’s blood can be used for some transfusions and products.
Without more men starting to give blood, blood stocks will come under increasing pressure in the future.
Throughout January, NHSBT is running a national campaign about ordinary men becoming extraordinary by donating blood, and Luton is one of the target areas for new male donors.
NHSBT is aiming for 48% of all new donors in Luton to be male during 2020.
Men's blood is so important because the NHSBT gets 93 per cent of its platelets from male donors, they are mostly given to cancer patients to cut internal bleeding.
Another reason is that only men’s blood is used for complete blood transfusions in newborn babies, and also for plasma, which is used for people who’ve had massive blood loss.
Mike Stredder, the head of donor recruitment for NHS Blood and Transplant, said: “All our donors are amazing. But we need more men to start donating blood in Luton during the New Year.
"Men’s blood can be used in extraordinary, lifesaving ways, but we don’t have enough new male donors coming forward.
"This is not about recruiting as many donors as possible – it’s about getting the right gender mix.
“If you can’t find an appointment right away don’t worry – your blood will do extraordinary things if you donate in a few weeks instead.”
To start donating visit the Luton Donor Centre in St George's Square.