Blood donors urged to keep festive appointments

20 November 2018 07:17

A quarter of blood donor appointments are cancelled

A quarter of blood donor appointments are cancelled

Health officials are hoping blood donors keep their appointments in the run-up to Christmas to avoid stocks running low over the festive period.

Figures from last year show that around a quarter of all appointments to give blood in the week before Christmas were cancelled, while one in 10 donors simply failed to show.

To ensure there's no pre-Christmas slump this year, NHS Blood and Transplant reminds donors who need to cancel to give at least three days' notice, so their slot can be reallocated.

Serious drop

Officials warned a serious drop in donations could affect the supply of blood to the tens of thousands of people in England who will need transfusions over the festive period, as treatment for a blood condition or cancer, or due to surgery, childbirth or an accident.

Two-year-old Henry Alderson, who suffers from the rare condition Diamond Blackfan Anaemia, has had around 40 transfusions since first receiving blood just minutes after he was born, and will need blood over the festive period.

The rare bone marrow failure disorder means he cannot make his own red blood cells and needs transfusions every four weeks to keep him alive.

His mother Zoe described the transfusions as "supercharging" and said they give the youngster a normal life.

She said: "He is now so used to transfusions that he gets excited about going to hospital and happily watches the needle go in. Once the blood works its magic he is full of energy once more.

"Henry's best chance at a long and healthy life is a bone marrow transplant, but for now we rely on blood donors to keep him alive. His transfusions in November and December will mean he can enjoy Christmas. We are incredibly grateful to everyone who gives blood."

Lifesaving blood

Mike Stredder, director of blood donation for NHS Blood and Transplant, said: "Demand for lifesaving blood doesn't stop for Christmas. But stock levels can drop dramatically if too many donor appointments go missed or unfilled.

"We need our loyal donors more than ever at this time of year to make sure hospitals have the blood that seriously ill children and adults will need over Christmas and the new year. Each donation can save up to three lives."

Existing blood donors are being prioritised for appointments in the run-up to and over Christmas. New donors who have registered but not yet donated are being asked to make an appointment for the new year.

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