'Do something amazing... give blood' says NHS

PUBLISHED: 08:02 31 December 2017

200,000 new blood donors are needed every year to maintain supplies.

200,000 new blood donors are needed every year to maintain supplies.

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Nearly 2,500 people across Somerset registered to give blood for the first time in 2017 - but the NHS is appealing for more to step forward and help in 2018.

At a time when many people are making New Year’s resolutions to help others, bosses at NHS Blood and Transplant are hoping it could lead to a new wave of potential donors springing forth.

That is because the service needs to find around 200,000 new donors across the country every year to maintain its stock of life-saving blood supplies.

This is despite the fact that advancements in medical technology and improvements in clinical practice mean the overall demand for blood is falling by around three to four per cent a year.

Nationally, some 900,000 people gave blood last year, which includes 2,442 across Somerset who did so for the first time – 588 of which live in North Somerset, and 1,323 across the Somerset County Council area.

Mike Stredder, director of blood donation at NHS Blood and Transplant, says now is the perfect time to start.

He said: “It’s New Year and like many of us, you may be thinking about the year a
head and some changes you’d like to make to your life. 
Perhaps you want to cut down on drinking, eat more healthily or are considering joining a gym?

“This year we are asking people in Somerset to focus on giving and to register to give blood. It’s easy to sign up and book your first appointment online or via our mobile phone app.

“By donating blood you 
will save or improve the lives 
of up to three people. Do something amazing in 2018. 
Give blood.”

Donors are needed from all blood groups and communities but there is a particular need for more people from black and Asian communities to donate to help provide the right mix of blood.

In general, as long as you are fit and healthy, weigh more than seven 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 past two years to continue donating.

Registering to become a donor is quick and easy.

Visit www.blood.co.uk to sign up, or download a specialist app by searching ‘NHSGiveBlood’ in the app store. You can also call the Donor Line on 03001 232323.

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