Urgent NHS call for male blood donors
THERE is a huge shortage of male blood donors in Gloucestershire – with men signing up at less than half the rate of women.
In January 2018, nearly three times as many women became new blood donors in the county as men – 177 compared to 67.
And now NHS Blood and Transplant is urging men to donate.
Male donors are actually more likely to have blood that can be used for some products such as platelets and allogeneic serum drops to treat people with dry eye conditions.
Director of blood donation for NHS Blood and Transplant, Mike Stredder, said: “It’s vital that more men start donating blood because their blood is used to provide life-saving products like plasma and platelets – to save victims of burns, car crashes and to treat patients with cancer.
“We’re incredibly grateful to all our female donors in Gloucestershire who are vital in providing life-saving blood to those in need.
“But we need men to catch up with recent recruitment because their blood can have different characteristics, which can make it important in certain situations.”
NHS Blood and Transplant added that donors of every gender are encouraged to donate – however, men’s blood can contain fewer antibodies against red and white blood cells because women often make these antibodies during pregnancy.
This means male blood is often more suitable for creating blood products.
Men generally have higher iron levels than women, so are less likely to be deferred from donating due to low haemoglobin.
Mr Stredder added: “It’s more likely that we can use men’s blood to stop bleeding after injury or surgery. A recent study has shown that fewer men are scared of donating blood than women, so I would appeal to them to step up and be part of an already amazing group of people who have kept their resolution to give blood.”
NHS Blood and Transplant has been analysing donor recruitment trends and is now working on reaching more male potential donors.
Factors affecting male donor recruitment are thought to include the recent greater use of social media campaigns, which are more popular with women.
There are around 10,700 active blood donors in Gloucestershire – and almost 4,300 of these currently give blood at Gloucester donor centre on London Road.
Giving blood is quick and easy and just one donation can save or improve the lives of three people desperately in need of a blood transfusion.
It is quick and easy to make, view and change appointments by calling 0300 123 23 23, using the GiveBlood app, or going online at www.blood.co.uk