With the summer holidays upon us and everyone enjoying spending more time outdoors at festivals and events, NHS Blood and Transplant is reminding people of the importance of taking the time to donate blood.
A massive 7,000 units of blood are needed every day to help save the lives of sick and injured patients across England and North Wales.
For some patients who have severe blood loss, such as those who have complications in childbirth or a traffic accident, a blood transfusion can make the difference between life and death.
Some blood group stocks often dip in the summer and with red blood cells only having a shelf life of 35 days and platelets a shelf life of five days, blood cannot be stockpiled.
Lead donor relations manager John Canning said: “We realise that when the schools break for summer there are holidays in the diary and days out planned and it can be easy to forget the blood donor appointment in the diary.
“We ask you to attend if at all possible but if you can’t attend your appointment that you let us know by calling 0300 123 23 23 so that your appointment can be offered to someone else.
“It is also worth remembering that if you are going away in England or North Wales that you could make your donation at your holiday destination.”
As there is also a bank holiday at the end of August, making a date to donate and keeping your appointment becomes even more important as this is another time of year when stocks can dip.
Anyone aged between 17 and 65, weighing more than 50 kg (7 stone 12lbs) and in general good health could potentially start saving lives by becoming a blood donor. There is no upper age limit for donors who have donated in the last two years. To book an appointment call the Donor Line on 0300 123 23 23 or visit www.blood.co.uk
Did you know?
The NBS collects approximately two million units of blood each year from 1.4 million blood donors
The NHS needs 7,000 voluntary donations of blood daily
Only around four per cent of the eligible population are active blood donors
A unit of blood is measured as 470mls (or just under a pint )
Whole blood donors can give blood every 16 weeks, that’s three times per year
There are four main blood groups – O, A, B and AB. Group O is the most common and therefore the most in demand.
More than 95 per cent of the blood collected is processed into its main components – red cells, platelets and plasma.
A regular supply of blood is vital – red cells last only 35 days and platelets only five days.