Appeal for blood donors as supplies run short

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The NHS has appealed for blood donors to come forward after revealing stocks have fallen.

Donors who are O Rh negative (O-) are being asked to come forward to give blood after a busy festive period, and people in the north of the county have a number of opportunities to do so in the coming weeks.

The Community Centre on Stephenson Way, Corby, has a session today (Thursday, January 3) between 4.30pm and 7.15pm.

In Wellingborough, donors can visit the Every Day Champions Church on Havelock Street on Wednesday, January 9 from 1.15pm to 3.30pm and from 4.30pm to 7.30pm. Meanwhile, people in Desborough can go to the Anglican and Methodist Church on Friday, January 11 between 1pm and 3.30pm and from 4.30pm to 7.30pm.

Kettering’s Corn Market Hall is hosting a session on Tuesday, January 15, and there will also be a session the following day at the Bridge Hotel in Thrapston.

Officials say blood stocks often dip around holiday time as people can’t always attend their sessions – something which has been worsened this year due to the recent outbreak of norovirus, which has led to a dramatic increase in the number of people correctly cancelling their appointments.

Hospitals across the country have increased their stocks of blood to cover the extended holiday period – on Christmas Eve 50 per cent more O- was issued to hospitals than on an average day and on New Year’s Eve 35 per cent more – there has been a recent high demand for O- blood to meet patient need, meaning stocks have fallen.

Jon Latham, Assistant Director of Marketing for NHS Blood and Transplant, said: “We would like to urge all O- donors to walk into their most convenient donor session to give blood to help rebuild stock levels.

“We are always grateful to donors who respond to calls such as this and appreciate that in doing so they do give up some of their precious time. Waiting times may vary in the next few days as we try to accommodate all donors. Demand for blood never stops and O- donors can help to ensure healthy blood stocks in the upcoming weeks, by giving blood now and in the next few days.”

Donors with blood group O- negative are often known as universal donors, as their blood can be given to patients with a different blood group. This can prove vital in an emergency situation where there may not be time for an immediate blood group testing to be carried out. Approximately 7 per cent of the population have this blood group.

Healthy blood stocks are vital to ensure that patients undergoing surgery and receiving treatment for cancer and blood diseases, such as leukaemia, continue to receive the transfusions they need.

Anyone aged between 17-65, 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.

For more information, to book an appointment or to find a local blood donor session please call 0300 123 23 23 or visit www.blood.co.uk