Gloucester ‘urgently’ needs 750 new blood donors, says NHS
The NHS says the city of Gloucester needs 750 new blood donors, with children at particular risk of medical problems without new supplies.
Nationwide, one million more blood donors are needed over the next five years to ensure patients receive the right kind of blood to save and improve their lives, with a particular need for black African donors, Caribbean blacks and younger. The blood service’s five-year strategy, released at the start of National Blood Week, sets ambitious plans to recruit up to one million new donors and double the number of regular donors with the rarest blood types.
This will ensure better blood group matching for patients in the future and reduce health inequalities, according to the NHS. Most people know the main blood types – O positive (35% of the population), O negative (13%), A positive (30%), A negative (8%), B positive (8%). , B negative (2%) and AB positive (2%). But the public is less familiar with the many subtypes that can provide an even better match to improve their treatment.
READ NEXT – Cirencester warning as fraud watchdog tracks ‘crash for cash’ scammers
There is a particularly urgent need for more black African and black Caribbean donors to treat people with sickle cell disease. Sickle cell disease is the fastest growing genetic blood disease in the UK and primarily affects people of black descent. It requires regular transfusions – most often with the specific blood subtype R oh .
Most patients are children and the demand for R oh blood is expected to double from 2016/17 to 2025/26. Fifty-five percent of black blood donors have the R oh subtype compared to 2.4% of donors of other ethnicities.
Stephen Cornes, director of blood supply at NHS Blood and Transplant, said: “Currently we can only meet around half of the demand for R oh blood through our existing donor base and the demand for this rare blood group is increasing. This means that many sickle cell patients often receive less well-matched blood, which, although clinically appropriate, may pose a longer-term risk for patients who receive regular transfusions.
“We urgently need new black African and black Caribbean donors to come forward and donate blood. In addition to the rarest blood types, we also need one million new donors over the next five years of all blood types As the NHS treats more patients, we also need to increase the total number of donors.
“We carefully manage inventory to ensure we don’t waste precious blood. If you can’t get an appointment right away, it’s because we have enough of your blood type right now. Please reserve for a later date or respond when we contact you.”
Dr Bola Owolabi, director of health inequalities at NHS England, said: ‘A shortage of blood donations from people of black descent often means that some patients do not receive the best blood type match and are therefore at risk of serious complications.
“Addressing inequalities in healthcare is a top priority for the NHS and increasing the number of black African and black Caribbean blood donors is crucial to improving outcomes for sickle cell patients in particular. I urge anyone able to donate blood to come forward as soon as possible – you are essential in saving the lives of your neighbours, friends and communities battling this disease.