The NHS has launched an advertising campaign to encourage more people in Croydon to donate plasma.
Plasma donations in the UK restarted in April due to pressure on global supplies, but awareness is still low among potential donors.
The Croydon donor centre in Central Shopping Centre is only around 24 per cent full each day, with around 180 appointments going empty every week.
Christina Leaver, Croydon Plasma Donor Centre manager, said: “Plasma is a powerful, lifesaving part of your blood, which can be used to make unique, life-saving medicines.
“Since donation restarted we’ve had many fantastic people come in to donate but we still see too many empty chairs every day.
“We need your help. In the next few months, we need thousands more people to start donating at our donor centre.”
Plasma is used to make medicines full of donor antibodies which fight bacterial and viral infections.
This medicine, known as immunoglobulin, is used to strengthen or stabilise the immune systems of people with rare, life-threatening diseases.
About 1,100 people in South London received immunoglobulins last year.
NHS Blood and Transplant started taking donations this year to bolster long-term UK supplies but the number of donors is far behind target.
But research shows only two in 10 people know about plasma donation.
The NHS adverts, across social media and public places, will be part of a sustained campaign to drive up donor numbers over the next six months.
The campaign will headline with the message that plasma is ‘the medicine in you’, emphasising that for some patients there is no alternative treatment is available.
Ms Leaver added: “Plasma donation is safe and easy, it doesn’t take long, and you will help save and improve the lives of some of the most vulnerable people in the country.”
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