News | 20 Sep 2022

NHS crisis: Blood donors needed urgently

People are urged to donate blood as a national shortage, especially of certain blood types, threatens a crucial resource for transfusions and life-saving operations.

The NHS only has enough donated blood to last for two days. The NHS Blood and Transplant Service normally aims to have six days’ worth of blood on-hand for transfusions, operations and other procedures. To replenish this vital resource, the NHS is calling on everyone to donate blood if they can.

Without enough blood, important operations would be compromised or would have to be delayed – potentially jeopardising people’s lives. Labour and delivery is one example – women in childbirth are among the most common recipients of donated blood.

According to the service, every blood donation can save up to three lives an hour.

The shortage has been caused by a sharp decrease in donations since the start of the pandemic. Maintaining blood stocks has been an ongoing challenge due to staff shortages and increased sickness, particularly due to Covid, among staff and donors. Blood can only be stored for 35 days, so supplies constantly need to be replenished.

Of the eight blood types found in humans, O-, B- and O+ are in especially short supply. O- can be given to people of any blood type. O+ is the most common blood type, while B- is one of the rarest.

The NHS Blood and Transplant Service is especially keen that people of black heritage donate blood. Many people with sickle cell need regular blood transfusions, which help to reduce the chances of a severe crisis. But to get the best treatment, patients need blood from a donor of the same ethnicity.

In England alone there are 25 permanent venues where one can donate blood, all of which have connectivity supplied by Vodafone.

An NHS spokesperson said: “We are expecting a difficult few months, and will continue to work with hospitals to manage blood stocks.

“While many sessions held in community venues such as church halls are full, the blood donor centres in cities currently have unfilled appointments. So we urgently need more people to make appointments to give blood at our 25 permanent donor centres.

“If you are one of our amazing regular donors please make and keep an appointment. If you have never donated before, now is a great time to make your first donation. You will be helping the NHS at an important time. Every appointment counts.”

How you can sign up to donate blood now.

Stay up-to-date with the latest news from Vodafone by following us on Twitter and signing up for News Centre website notifications.