Blood donors are being urged to make and keep appointments at Sheffield donor centre before Christmas as NHS Blood and Transplant warns it needs to build up blood stocks ahead of the critical festive period.
There are still 700 blood donation appointments unfilled at Sheffield Donor Centre in Cathedral Court in the six weeks until the New Year and every potential donation could save up to three lives.
During late November and through December, donations drop and some people simply do not turn up for their appointments, particularly in the week before Christmas, a time when people are busy with celebrations and shopping.
NHS Blood and Transplant needs blood donors to make and keep their appointments to avoid an even more serious pre-Christmas slump. This year it fears that the forecast bad weather could keep even more donors away. The Met Office has predicted below average temperatures leading to a greater risk of frost and snow.
NHS Blood and Transplant is urging donors to keep their appointment to give blood in November and December. Donors who need to cancel are being asked to give at least three days’ notice so the slot can be given to someone else. There are around 8,036 active blood donors resident in Sheffield.
Permanent donor centres have the best appointment availability. Donors who are unable to find an appointment at a local community venue such as a church hall are being urged to keep checking, as cancellations mean slots can become available at short notice.
People who want to donate for the first time probably won’t be able to find an appointment because existing donors are being prioritised. If you are a new donor who can’t see an appointment, please make an appointment to donate in the New Year instead.
A serious drop in donations could affect the supply of blood to the tens of thousands of people in England who will need transfusions over the festive period as treatment for a blood condition or cancer, or due to surgery, childbirth or an accident.
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Donors with all blood groups are being asked to keep their lifesaving appointment in the run up to and over Christmas, but vulnerable groups such as O negative, B negative and A negative are particularly important.
Mike Stredder, Director of Blood Donation for NHS Blood and Transplant, said: “Please make and keep an appointment to give blood at Sheffield donor centre. If you are having difficulties making your appointment, please make sure you contact us so that we can offer the slot to someone else. We need to collect blood throughout November and December to build up stocks in time for Christmas.
“Demand for lifesaving blood doesn’t stop for Christmas. But England’s stock levels can drop dramatically if too many donor appointments go missed or unfilled.
“We know that donations slump and cancellations rise in the middle of December and the cold weather forecast could make the situation worse.
“We need our loyal donors to donate at Sheffield donor centre more than ever at this time of year, to make sure hospitals have the blood that seriously ill children and adults will need over Christmas and the New Year. Each donation can save up to three lives.”
It is quick and easy to make, view and change appointments by calling 0300 123 23 23 or online at www.blood.co.uk