Blood donors need over Christmas as thousands of appointment slots still open

Blood donors are being asked to give the gift of blood this Christmas and help the NHS over the challenging winter period. 

Winter is always a challenge for blood stocks with cold weather, seasonal illnesses, and busier diaries.

The only two days of the year that blood donations are not collected are Christmas Day and New Year’s Day, with appointments available on Christmas Eve and Boxing Day. 

In the three weeks over last Christmas and new year, hospitals in the capital needed 1,000 more units of blood than the NHS was able to collect in the same period, demonstrating how vulnerable blood stocks can be over the festive season. Though it did not affect the supply of blood to patients.

London’s permanent donor centres have plenty of appointment availability with a combined 4,046 spare slots over the next fortnight and many more in the coming weeks:

  • Shepherd’s Bush Donor Centre has 909 slots free over the next fortnight
  • Stratford Donor Centre has 1333 slots free over the next fortnight
  • Tooting Donor Centre has 432 slots free over the next fortnight
  • Twickenham Donor Centre has 51 slots free over the next fortnight.
  • West End Donor centre has 1321 slots free over the next fortnight

Donors are being asked to make an appointment to donate over the Christmas and New Year period if they don’t already have one, and to keep their appointment if they have already made one.  

People who have registered as a donor but not yet made an appointment to give blood are also encouraged to take that next step and make their first donation.

Mark Chambers, director of donor experience at NHS Blood and Transplant said: “We’re encouraging all of our amazing blood donors in London to please book and keep their appointments and help us save lives this Christmas. 

“Demand for lifesaving blood doesn’t stop for Christmas. Many patients will need transfusions over the festive period as treatment for a blood condition or cancer, or due to surgery, childbirth, or an accident.

“We’d also love to welcome anyone giving blood for the first time. If you don’t know your blood type you will find out after donating – you might find out you have the type patients especially need.

“It only takes an hour to give blood and each donation can help save or improve up to three lives.”

(Picture: NHS Blood and Transplant)

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