Blood donor service in festive appeal for donors
The Scottish National Blood Transfusion Service (SNBTS) requires 470 people to give blood every day during December. Last week the service sent a press release to the Courier about the need for blood in the festive season despite cutting Kintyre collections in July 2017. At the time more than 100 blood donors in Campbeltown were sent a letter by Dr Moira Carter, an associate director of donor and transport services at SNBTS. It stated that: ‘The demand for blood has reduced in the past six years. In addition, blood has to reach a processing centre within 22 hours from the time of the first collection at a donor session. ‘When the distances are long and the logistics complex, with a risk of unpredictable adverse weather conditions, this can be challenging and with an increased likelihood of losing donations due to the time restrictions. ‘It is, therefore, with regret that I write to inform you that, due to our reduced blood collection programme and the risks of losing donations associated with logistics, we are not planning any further sessions in Campbeltown at this time.’ In a Freedom of Information disclosure, in 2015, just 0.10 per cent of all donations, representing 195, 462ml units, was damaged due to transportation or during handling. That year Campbeltown donated at least 250 units. Previously SNBTS collected donated blood twice a year from a session in Victoria Hall Campbeltown. This year SNBTS states that, ‘with Christmas Day falling on what is traditionally one of the strongest collection days of the week, we are asking donors to ensure they know their blood group and come forward so that stocks continue to build’. Lynne Willdigg, associate director of donor services, SNBTS, said: ‘There are eight different blood groups, and we aim to maintain a five-toseven-day supply at all times of each one. ‘Our focus as a service is to ensure that we consistently meet clinical demand and to this end we work closely with hospitals to forecast that demand. ‘This means that we can provide donors with a greater level of detail about how their donation is needed. ‘For example, O Positive is Scotland’s most common blood group, so we must welcome 191 people with this blood group every day. ‘O Negative on the other hand is the only blood group that can safely be given to anyone in an emergency situation, therefore, requires proportionately a higher level of donation to the population profile. ‘This means that every day we require at least 71 donors of this universal blood group to ensure accident and emergency wards can operate safely. ‘To keep supplies at safe levels overall in Scotland, we need 470 donors each day and all blood groups are needed to support patients, just some more than others depending on demand. ‘We are asking donors to check their blood group, and make an extra special effort to attend if we write to you or text you. ‘If you’ve never given blood, please come along and donate, and we’ll write to you afterwards to let you know what your blood group is. ‘We would also love to welcome new donors. Fortyseven per cent of active donors in Scotland are age 45 or over, so it is important younger people start giving blood to meet the needs of our aging population. ‘As you can start giving blood at age 17, we are reaching out to all younger people to encourage them to think about giving blood now.’ Anyone over the age of 17 in general good health and
weighing more than 7st 12lbs, could potentially become a blood donor and help to save lives. To register as a blood donor or to find out where your nearest donation session is, call 0845 90 90 999.
Blood donor Ian Campbell in 2016 at Victoria Hall.