‘Please keep donating’: NHS urges people to keep giving blood and says it is an ‘ESSENTIAL form of helping the vulnerable’ as coronavirus crisis sees 15 per cent slump in daily stocks
- Leaving home to donate blood is allowed under new lockdown measures
- It comes under the category of ‘helping vulnerable people’ allowing movement
- Since coronavirus outbreak in the UK daily donations have dropped by 15%
- NHS is urging people to continue donating to ensure adequate stock levels
- Coronavirus symptoms: what are they and should you see a doctor?
NHS figures reveal a 15 per cent drop in whole blood donations since the draconian measures limiting movement came into force across Britain.
Following the tightening of restrictions announced last night there are fears the number of blood donations may continue to plummet.
However, current stock levels are coping with decreasing blood stocks as the drop in supply has been matched by a slump in demand as many operations are cancelled.
Following Boris Johnson’s address to the nation on prime-time television last night the NHS has said the Government considers giving blood a form of essential travel.
The NHS has urged people to keep donating blood during the UK-wide coronavirus lockdown as it is essential to patients and a form of helping the vulnerable
Added provisions and social distancing are strictly adhered to at donor centres including extra handwash stations and 2m between people in the waiting room. Pictured, a London donor centre today
A NHS Blood and Transplant spokesperson told MailOnline: ‘Donations have dropped though our stock levels are currently still good because hospitals are cancelling routine operations.
‘Blood collection was 15 per cent less last week than forecast but that was matched by the drop in demand.
‘Our appointments are still mostly full though cancellations have risen.
‘However we need people to keep donating to make sure we can keep supplying the blood hospitals need in the coming weeks and months.
‘Patients and doctors are relying on us to be there.’
At donor events across the country less people are fulfilling appointments but the health service urges people to keep leaving home to give blood.
A single blood donation, which takes around five minutes, can help treat up to three people in dire need of transfusions, according to the NHS.
Added provisions and social distancing are strictly adhered to at donor centres including extra handwash stations and 2m between people in the waiting room.
Last night, Boris Johnson outlined the four reasons a person is allowed to leave the house.
These are to go to the shops infrequently; for one form of daily exercise; essential travel to and from work; and medical needs or to help a vulnerable person.
Giving blood fits into the latter category and is permitted under the new guidelines.
Since the draconian measures limiting movement have come into force across Britain last week the NHS reports a 15 per cent drop in whole blood donations
On the NHS website today it reads: ‘Following Boris Johnson’s announcement giving blood and platelets is a medical need and a form of helping vulnerable people.
‘It is essential to patients and the NHS. Please keep donating.’
The NHS spokesperson added: ‘We need people who are fit and healthy to keep donating as normal during the coronavirus outbreak.
‘We’ve put extra safety measures in place and safety is always our number one priority.
‘We’re now doing extra cleaning and this week we’ve started triaging everyone who arrives so only people with no risk factors can enter the donation area.’
WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU DONATE BLOOD?
Every day hospitals in the UK need a staggering 6,000 blood donations.
In order to meet this demand, an additional 190,000 new donors are needed every year.
At this time of year, hospitals are even more in need of donors as they face a ‘Christmas slump’, as people cancel appointments.
Figures show almost half of blood donors are over the age of 45 and 81 per cent of 18-24 year olds have never given blood.
A regular supply of all blood groups and types is needed.
Before you give blood
If you would like to donate blood, you can register online or call 0300 123 23 23.
When you log into your account, you are able to find an appointment.
How you donate blood
When you are comfortable in the chair, a nurse will put a cuff on your arm to maintain a small amount of pressure during donation (this does not measure blood pressure).
They then examine your arm to find a suitable vein and clean it with an antiseptic sponge.
A needle will be inserted into your arm which will collect your blood into a blood bag with your unique donor number.
You should not feel any discomfort or pain. If you do, tell a member of staff.
A scale weighs the blood and stops when you have donated 470ml (or just under a pint). This usually takes between 5-10 minutes.
The needle will be removed and a sterile dressing applied to your arm.
Your donation is transported to one of our blood centres where it is tested and processed before being issued to hospitals.
Source: NHS Give Blood