My View, Nick Tupper: Worrying fall in number of blood donors

Celebrating World Blood Donor Day at Doncaster Racecourse are donor Sue Jenning, 59, of Bennetthorpe, who has been giving blood for over 20 years, with Rebecca Morris, 17, of Rossington, and NHS donor carers Nicola Copok, and Ann Smith.  Picture: Liz Mockler D2475LM
Celebrating World Blood Donor Day at Doncaster Racecourse are donor Sue Jenning, 59, of Bennetthorpe, who has been giving blood for over 20 years, with Rebecca Morris, 17, of Rossington, and NHS donor carers Nicola Copok, and Ann Smith. Picture: Liz Mockler D2475LM
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If you’ve ever needed a transfusion you’ll no doubt always be grateful to the person who took the time to give their blood. Such donors are unsung heroes, ordinary people who willingly roll up their sleeve to help save someone else’s life.

Worryingly though, new figures have revealed that 40 per cent fewer volunteers – around 120,000 people – came forward across England and North Wales to give blood last year compared to a decade ago. I am a donor and I encourage other Doncaster people to give blood as regular donations are crucial to saving and improving the lives of patients with cancer, blood disorders and those suffering medical trauma or undergoing surgery.

NHS Blood and Transplant, the organisation responsible for keeping the nation’s blood stocks at a safe level, has launched a campaign called Missing Type to promote blood donation. They have encouraged big organisations like Waterstones and Odeon Cinema to remove the letters A, O and B from their names to raise awareness of the need for new donors with all blood types.

I’m pleased to say that our CCG is backing the campaign and we have even had a photograph of our HQ ‘doctored’ electronically to have the same letters removed.

The campaign cleverly highlights that if not enough new donors come forward and these ‘types’ were to go missing in years to come, there wouldn’t be enough blood available when patients need it. It could be you.

This year, around 200,000 new donors need to attend a session to donate to ensure we keep national blood stocks at a safe level. A survey found the main reasons why people don’t give blood are: knowing it’s a good thing to do but not getting round to it (27 per cent); fear of needles (22 per cent); believing they are not eligible to donate, which may not be the case (21 per cent).

Interestingly, 86 per cent of responders who had given blood felt it was as expected, or easier than they expected it to be. Some 56 per cent said it made them feel worthwhile and 27 per cent said it made them feel they were giving something back to society.

If you are 17 or over visit Give Blood or call 0300 1232323 to find out if you are eligible to donate, register as a donor and book your appointment. There is a section on the website where you can type in your postcode to see when the next donation session is taking place near to where you live in Doncaster.

Coming up are sessions at Thorne Trinity Academy on Saturday, June 27; Doncaster Racecourse on Saturday, July 2; and Pastures Lodge, Mexborough on Tuesday, July 7.

Over a quarter of us will need blood at some time in our lives. So please do something amazing in Doncaster – give blood, so it’s there when we need it.

* Nick Tupper, Chairman of Doncaster NHS clinical commissioning group