Sunday, December 10

Help find these missing blood types: Become a blood donor today and help save lives



NHSBT Blood donation services around the world have launched an international push for more people to give blood amid falling numbers of new donors.

NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT), the national blood service for England, is uniting with other blood donor organisations and calling on citizens in 21 countries across the world to become new blood donors and save lives.

Globally, three blood transfusions are given every second, but there has been nearly a 30% drop internationally in people becoming blood donors compared to a decade ago.

According to Ian Trenholm, chief executive of NHSBT: We’re particularly interested in encouraging more young people and those from black and South Asian communities to come forward to make sure we’ve got a broad range of blood types, he said. It’s not just about how much blood you have got, it’s also about having the right type of blood that can match to individual patients.

In England, NHSBT needs 1.6 million units of blood every year to meet patients’ needs, but to do this requires 200,000 new donors annually.

Donated blood has a life of 35 days, and platelets, which helps the blood clot, just seven. In 2015, 1.1 million people in the UK donated blood – and more than 184,000 of them were first time donors through the four UK blood services.

Find out how to give blood

Together the UK’s 1.1 million donors meant blood services provided 1.89 million units of blood to hospitals, helping up to 5.7 million people. Microsoft has joined the Missing Type campaign and is highlighting the need for new blood donors by removing the letters A, B and O” from its companies’ logos during the campaign, which starts on August 16.

In addition to the campaign’s nationally televised adverts, Microsoft is also highlighting the impact of blood donation globally. NHS Blood and Transplant, which collects, tests and processes blood across England and manages organ donation across the UK, also uses Microsoft’s Azure cloud software to improve its efficiency.

[Image from case study] caption: Azure in action at NHSBT: hear from NHSBT leaders and patients [Image from Infographic] caption: Infographic: Azure and the journey of a blood donation

The announcement that Microsoft is to take part follows a similar, successful campaign last year that saw the company participate along with brands such as Starbucks, Sky and Honda, while Downing Street dropped the “O” from its sign.

Around 30,000 new donors signed up following the push. A lack of time and fears over giving blood are among the reasons why people don’t come forward as donors, but NHS Blood and Transplant has improved its digital services to make the registration and booking process quicker and easier. Cancer patient Craig Shellard is hoping more people come forward.

I was diagnosed with cancer and I’ve had a stem cell transplant and blood transfusions. They were life-saving and played an integral part in my recovery. Not only do more donors mean more blood, it’s also about the rareness, such as some of the cases I’ve had where I needed specific types of blood. The more people who are available to donate blood, the more chance that those who really need it, like myself, get the right products.

To sign up to become a blood donor and book an appointment at the nearest donation centre, visit the NHS Blood and Transplant website or download the ‘Give Blood’ app.