Councillor Fi Hance, Cabinet Member for City Health and Wellbeing, visited Bristol Blood Donor Centre with Bristol residents today (Wednesday 17 August) to support the International Missing Type campaign for new blood donors - a global movement to encourage more people to register as new blood donors.
During the International Missing Type campaign, the letters A, B and O (the main blood groups) will be removed from many high profile places and organisations to raise awareness of the importance of giving blood.
Every minute, thanks to blood donors, three units of blood are issued to hospitals in England to treat patients. In Bristol 30,000 units of blood need to be collected this year to meet hospital demand.
Although the overall demand for blood is declining and there is not a crisis in blood stocks, there is a need to ensure blood donation for future generations.
More people are needed to start giving blood to replace those who can no longer donate – for reasons such as ill health, travel, and pregnancy – and a more diverse community of donors to meet patient need.
Last year, more than half of donors in England were aged over 45. Young donors are needed to ensure the right mix of blood groups for the future.
Cllr Hance, who donated blood alongside residents at the Bristol Blood Donor Centre on the site of Southmead Hospital, said: “Every blood donation helps or saves up to three people - patients in hospital rely on a regular supply of blood to make sure they get the right treatment at the right time.
“I would urge anyone who is able and willing to donate to register at www.blood.co.uk and give blood – you can make a real difference to people’s lives.”
In Bristol, there is also a particular need for more black and South Asian donors. Last year, 64 black people and 89 south Asian people in Bristol gave blood at least once.
Azza Mustafa, who also donated blood today, said: “It’s really important more people register as blood donors, especially those from Black and south Asian communities.
“These communities are under-represented when it comes to blood and organ donation but patients from these communities are more likely to have conditions which require regular blood transfusions and need blood that is more closely matched to their own to get the best outcome from treatment.
“I’d recommend donating blood to anyone - it’s a quick and painless way to help others and who knows when any one of us, our friends or a member of our family might be in need of a blood donation ourselves?”
Mike Stredder, Director of Blood Donation at NHS Blood and Transplant, the service that collects, tests and processes blood for hospitals across England, said: “Blood donation is an amazing gift and we are really grateful to Councillor Fi Hance and the community for their support. Blood transfusions save lives and we need people in Bristol to register as new donors.
“Thanks to the generosity of our current donors, hospitals have the blood needed to treat patients and there is not a crisis in blood stocks. Despite overall blood use in hospitals declining, we need more people to start giving blood to replace those who can no longer donate and to ensure we have the right mix of blood groups to match patient needs in the future.
“We need more young donors to help ensure the future of blood donation. We also particularly need more donors from Black African, Black Caribbean, mixed race, Arab and South Asian heritage to become blood donors to reflect the ethnic diversity of patients."
Donated blood is vital for many life-saving procedures. The main uses of donated blood is to treat patients with medical conditions like anaemia, cancer and other blood disorders, patients having surgery and new mothers who lose blood in childbirth.
Save a life. Register as a new blood donor at www.blood.co.uk or phone 0300 123 23 23.