Thanks issued to local blood donors amid calls for more to come forward

Thanks issued to local blood donors amid calls for more to come forward image

Home » Thanks issued to local blood donors amid calls for more to come forward

On World Blood Donor Day 2024 (14 June), NHS leaders in Bedfordshire, Luton and Milton Keynes have issued a statement thanking donors for their generosity and appealing for more to come forward.

Each year the NHS needs around 140,000 new blood donors to grow and diversify the base of donors, so that blood and blood products can continue to be supplied to hospitals.  There is a particular shortage of donors from Black and other minority ethnic communities.

Only 7% of the UK’s population gives blood, and an even smaller percentage of those are Black or minority ethnic.  Ethnically matched blood donations are important for those who have certain conditions such as sickle cell anaemia, meaning that the NHS in England needs 12,000 new donors of Black heritage this year.

Alexis Abiaka, chief cardiac physiologist at Luton and Dunstable Hospital, who is of African Caribbean heritage, said: 

“On a daily basis, people need blood for various reasons, such as cancers, transfusions during surgery, accidents and injury, and many other blood-related conditions.  Getting ethnically matched blood is important to make sure that the blood given is as close as possible to a patient’s own genotype.

“There can be social stigma in Black and Asian communities, though, which discourages people from donating blood.  With so many people in those communities needing transfusions, the demand is too high for the supply.  It’s really important for ethnic minority groups to register to give blood.”

Elaine Baugh, an emergency planning manager in the local NHS, said: 

“As someone who suffers from sickle cell anaemia, I’ve had to receive blood transfusions often, such as when my haemoglobin is low and before receiving anaesthetic.

“These transfusions are necessary for me to live, but blood donations are saving other people’s lives too.  We need blood donors from all backgrounds to match as many people as possible, so that people can receive the transfusions they need.”

It’s easy to register as a blood donor or to get more information on blood donations.  Simply go to blood.co.uk or download the GiveBloodNHS app.  There is a permanent blood donor centre at St George’s Square in Luton, but NHS Blood and Transplant also pays regular visits to community venues across Bedfordshire, Luton and Milton Keynes.

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