Litres of blood were collected in Tower Hamlets this morning as residents came to the Bishopsgate Institute to donate before Christmas.
The local session was set up both for new and regular blood donors, as the NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT) had urged residents in Tower Hamlets to show some festive spirit by donating blood.
Last year, blood donations fell by as much as 20 per cent over the festive season. This is a critical issue for patients who rely on vital blood transfusions over Christmas and early January.
Derek Carr, Lead Donor Relations Manager at NHSBT, said last winter presented challenges for the blood supply. He said: ”We urge people to show warm hearts by saving lives by donating blood this Christmas.”
Deborah Ferris, Donor Relations coordinator at the session, said she expected 115 people to come and give blood in Tower Hamlets during the day.
She explained that the process of giving blood only takes one hour – with the actual donation taking about 10 minutes.
She added: “We want to get as many people as possible through the door before Christmas.”
By 10am the upper hall in Bishopsgate Institute was filled with people prepared to give blood.
All donors have to answer health questions, and take blood tests to check if they are healthy and do not lack iron. Afterwards they are given some juice and biscuits to keep their blood sugar stable.
Blood donor Anthony Turner, 45, said this was the 31st time he had come to give blood. In his opinion it is “social duty, which does not take long”.
He thinks most people do not want to give blood because they are afraid that it will hurt. He reassuring added: “It does not hurt or take long.”
Currently 96 per cent of Britons rely on the other four per cent to give blood, even though anyone between 17 and 65, weighing more than seven stone and in good health is eligible to donate.
Jon Latham, Assistant Director for Marketing and Donor Contact Service, said: “Blood donors from every blood group are needed every day.”
This Christmas the NHSBT has made a special appeal to O negative and B negative blood donors in Tower Hamlets. Donors with blood group O Rh negative are known as the “universal donor” because their blood can be given to patients with a different blood group.
Donors with the blood group B Rh negative are more often found in Black and Minority Ethnic communities. Only two per cent of the population has this blood group and donors are particularly needed.
To find the next local blood donation session in Tower Hamlets, or other boroughs please log on to www.blood.co.uk or call the Donor Line on: 03001232323.