Every year, on the 14th June, countries around the world celebrate World Blood Donor Day. The theme of the 2018 campaign is to highlight the fundamental human values of altruism, respect, empathy and kindness which underline and sustain voluntary unpaid blood donation systems.
“Be there for someone else. Give blood. Share life”
Why give blood?
According to information available on the World Health Organisation (WHO) website, the transfusion of blood and blood products help to save millions of lives each year. It can help patients suffering from life-threatening conditions live longer and with a higher quality of life, and supports complex medical and surgical procedures. It also has an essential life-saving role in maternal and child care and during the emergency response to man-made and natural disasters.
Simply put, giving blood saves lives. In the UK, over 6000 blood donations are needed every day in order to treat patients across England.
How is blood used?
Your blood is made up of a number of components, including red blood cells, plasma and platelets.
In the UK, blood is usually separated into its individual components or parts so a patient can be given the particular component they need. This ensures that the most can be made out of every blood donation, as the components in one unit of blood (or donation) can be used to treat different patients.
NHS Blood and Transplant work closely with hospitals to make sure valuable blood donations are used appropriately. According to the NHS Blood and Transplant website, overall hospital usage of blood in 2014 was:
- 67% used to treat medical conditions including anaemia, cancer and blood disorders
- 27% used in surgery, including cardiac surgery and emergency surgery
- 6% used to treat blood loss after childbirth
There are sometimes other ways in which your donated blood may be used, and you can read further information on this here:
Remember, blood donation saves lives and is an amazing gift to people who may need it in an emergency or for on-going medical treatment.
Who should donate?
Maintaining a regular supply of all blood groups and blood types can help to ensure that a wide number of people can be treated for all types of conditions. By giving blood, a donor helps to meet the challenge of providing life-saving blood products whenever and wherever they are needed.
Some rare sub-types are more common in specific blood communities, which is why the NHS Blood and Transplant website is asking for more blood donors from black, Asian and minority ethnic communities.
Most people can give blood. If you are:
- fit and healthy
- weigh between 7 stone 12 lbs and 25 stone, or 50kg and 160kg
- are aged between 17 and 66 (or 70 if you have given blood before)
- are over 70 and have given blood in the last two years
You may be able to regularly contribute as a blood donor
Men can give blood once every 12 weeks, and women can give blood every 16 weeks.
Sometimes it isn’t always possible for donors to give blood or they may have to wait a period of time before being able to donate. If you have an existing medical condition or have a question about your eligibility to give blood, have a look at the FAQs on the NHS Give blood website.
How can I donate?
Anyone can look to register to donate blood at any time.
Visit the https://my.blood.co.uk/ website to find out where the nearest donation centre is to you and register in order get an appointment.
The NHS Blood and Transplant “Give blood” website has a lot of information about how to register and about the difference you can make. Be there for someone else. Give blood. Share life
NHS “Give blood” website: https://www.blood.co.uk/
NHS “Give blood” contact number: 0300 123 23 23
NHS Blood and Transplant website: http://www.nhsbt.nhs.uk/