First-time and regular blood donors are being urged to make appointments at the new Blood Donor centre opening today at Westfield Shepherd’s Bush Shopping Centre in Shepherd’s Bush.
The new premises, containing six beds, is on the first floor between M&S and The Village and is set to book around 170 appointments per day.
Daniel Clarke, NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT) marketing operations manager, said: “We already have a good number of loyal donors in the city, but we know there is the potential to attract more.
“Westfield is the largest urban shopping centre in Europe and by placing our new Shepherd’s Bush Donor Centre in it we hope to collect even more lifesaving donations in London.”
Londoners have been urged to continue to give blood during the Coronavirus pandemic – which is still allowed during the national lockdown.
Donating blood is permitted as it is considered essential travel for a medical need, but extra safety measures have been put in place.
Mr Clarke said: “Safety at collection centres is our number one priority. We’re spacing donors out and doing extra cleaning.
“Our staff are wearing masks and we’re triaging everyone, which includes a temperature check so only people with no risk factors can enter the donation area.
“We are also asking donors to wear their own face coverings to protect other donors and our staff.”
The new centre needs to collect over 19,400 donations each year to meet hospital demand.
Each donor has the potential to save or improve up to three lives with every donation.
There is an urgent shortage of donors from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) backgrounds, whose blood is particularly needed for conditions requiring long term transfusion programmes, such as Sickle Cell Disease and Thalassemia.
Patients with these conditions need blood as matched as possible, and the best way to get this match is blood of a similar ethnic background.
At present the NHSBT have around 43,000 donors from a BAME background – just under 6 per cent of all active donors.
NHSBT Events and Outreach Ambassador and postgraduate student Mary Adeturinmo has Sickle Cell Disease and receives up to 10 units of blood a month to manage her condition.
Her health challenges include regular hospital admissions, chronic pain and three eye surgeries because of the disease.
Ms Adeturinmo said: “I have been undergoing blood exchange for the past five years. It relieves major Sickle Cell crises and helps me to maintain my normal life.
“As an example, recently I became unable to walk, and at that point I knew that I needed blood exchange soon. I had the treatment, and it gave me back my mobility.”
Book an appointment to give blood at the new Shepherd’s Bush centre by calling 0300 123 23 23 or visit www.blood.co.uk
Photograph: Mary Adeturinmo, NHSBT Events and Outreach Ambassador
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