Young donors are crucial to ensuring there will be enough donors in the years to come. Despite the percentage of 17 – 24 year old blood donors in East Yorkshire being higher than the national average, more younger donors are needed.
NHS Blood and Transplant has released the figures at the start of National Blood Week to encourage more people across East Yorkshire to ‘get off the bench’ and start giving blood. The need for people to join the Greatest Team in the World is also intensified as donations are expected to be disrupted this summer as people’s attention turns to the Football World Cup.
In East Yorkshire there are 2,272 donors aged between 17 – 24*. This is 15.3 percent of those who currently donate blood in the county. Across England and North Wales, 17-24 year olds currently account for 14% of donors. Young donors are crucial to ensuring there is a robust donor base for the years to come and to protect the future supply of blood.
Each year 200,000 new donors are required to attend a donation session to replace those who can no longer donate for health or other reasons.
Jon Latham, Assistant Director for Donor Services and Marketing at NHS Blood and Transplant, said: “Our blood donors make up The Greatest Team in the World and we’re grateful to each and every one of them including new donors registering this year. We’re issuing a ‘call up’ for more to come forward because we know blood donation falls off the to-do list during hot weather and summer holidays, and big public events like the World Cup. We want potential donors to know they can do something amazing for their country just as the England team will hopefully do in Brazil! Make a date to donate and please keep your appointment to help us maintain and ensure stock levels for the coming months and for the future.”
Former England footballer Lee Dixon showed his support by visiting the West End Donor Centre, London and meeting first time donors. He said: “I wanted to support the campaign by visiting the West End Donor Centre to thank new young donors for taking the time out to donate. Blood donors don’t always get the recognition they deserve but in putting the needs of others ahead of their own they show real team spirit.”
While overall blood use within the NHS has been reducing due to improvements in clinical practice and NHS Blood and Transplant’s work with hospitals, the need for blood donations continues. In fact, more than 7,000 people need to attend a blood donation session every day to ensure the right amount of blood is collected, in the right quantities at the right time to meet patient needs.
While all blood groups are important, some blood groups, such as O Rh negative -the universal blood group - and B Rh negative are more vulnerable to shortfalls than others. It’s even more important that the number of regular donors with these blood groups increases. Many people don’t know what blood group they are until they make their first donation.
Recent updates to the website mean it is now easier than ever to register and manage appointments. Newly launched Apps for iphone and Android will also allow users to register, book and change or cancel appointments while they are out and about.
In general, as long as you are fit and healthy, weigh over 7 stone 12 lbs (50kg) and are aged between 17 and 66 (up to 70 if you have given blood before) you should be able to give blood. If you are over 70, you need to have given blood in the last two years to continue donating.
For more information on events and initiatives happening during National Blood Week (9-15 June 2014) to help encourage and attract younger people to donate or to register and book an appointment to donate, visit www.blood.co.uk or call 0300 123 23 23.