New blood donors needed in Newcastle as part of biggest campaign ever to help NHS recover
More people in Newcastle are being encouraged to donate blood to help the NHS recover this winter.
The Covid-19 pandemic has caused donor levels in England to hit their lowest level in 25 years.
About three-quarters of a million people in the country donated blood at the height of the pandemic – nearly 40,000 fewer regular donors than the previous year.
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Now, as demand increases, the NHS has launched its largest recruitment drive with the goal of getting 100,000 new donors to sign up by spring to help rebuild the blood service for the future.
Donations can help treat patients with cancer, blood disorders and those suffering from medical trauma or undergoing surgery.
Helen Duggan, deputy director of donation campaigns at NHS Blood and Transplant, said: “Maintaining a safe and regular supply of blood to hospitals is our top priority.
“During the most critical period of the pandemic, this was achieved thanks to a loyal club of existing donors – the smallest of the 21 st century.
“As hospitals catch up with routine care, we face a critical crossroads in meeting the increased demand for blood and call on new donors in Newcastle to step forward and join this incredible group of people who save lives. “
Newcastle was one of only four localities to reverse the national trend and actually had 800 more regular donors last year compared to the previous year.
Last year, the city’s donor center on Holland Drive doubled the number of beds from three to six, leading to an increase in the number of new appointments available.
There is a particular need for black donors to help treat patients with sickle cell disease, which is the fastest growing genetic blood disease in the UK.
New donors are also needed with O negative blood, which is the universal type and is often used for medical emergencies – 45% of new donors are likely to have O positive or O negative blood.
Newly registered donors will fill the gaps left by those who withdrew from donating blood during the pandemic.
This can be due to a number of reasons, including health, a change in lifestyle, or the refusal to continue to donate.
The demand for blood has now returned to pre-pandemic levels and could rise further in the coming months as hospitals continue to catch up with backlogs in treating patients.
Health Secretary Sajid Javid said: “The incredible efforts of donors have kept the NHS supplied with blood during the pandemic.
“Now as the NHS tackles the backlog, we need more people to reach out to these donors and donate blood.
“This new campaign will raise awareness, especially among black communities where there is a particular need for donors.
“I urge anyone who can to register now and offer the life-saving gift of donating blood.”
To register to become a blood donor and make an appointment, visit www.blood.co.uk, download the GiveBloodNHS app or call 0300 123 23 23.
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