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NHS fears drop in blood donations through 2012 sports events and holidays

Chris Satori
NHS Blood and Transplant is warning that a ‘perfect storm’ could be created by this year’s bumper sporting calendar and extra bank holiday, severely affecting blood donation levels in the North West in 2012. In addition to the Olympics and Paralympics, 2012 will bring Euro 2012 and a double Spring bank holiday in June for the royal jubilee.

NHSBT statistics show that 93% of donors give blood during the working week and that when there are big sporting events or a string of bank holidays national donation levels drop:
The bumper bank holidays around Easter and the Royal Wedding Week in 2011 resulted in 3500 fewer donations.

Last year on one day alone there were 851 fewer donations than the previous year, constituting a 12% drop due to the combination of particularly warm, sunny weather, the World Cup Quarter Final and Andy Murray’s Wimbledon Semi Final.

Approximately 2 million units of blood will be needed by hospitals throughout 2012, and the equivalent of 500 extra donations will be needed each week in the first six months to help us build blood stocks and cover extra potential need from Olympic visitors.

Barbara Blanche, Donor Relations Manager for the North West said:
"We’re calling on the public to make regular blood donation a New Year’s resolution. Whether you’ve never donated before or haven’t done for a while please book your appointment and help save lives in 2012.”

A significant drop in donations could have a massive impact on the thousands of people in England who require blood.  Blood ‘products’ are not just for road traffic accidents, they are used to treat people with cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, sickle cell disease, for new mums and babies, and during surgery.

Renowned comedian and writer Dave Spikey (pictured above) is supporting NHSBT’s ‘Gift of Life’ campaign. Until 2000, he was chief biomedical scientist in the haematology laboratory at Royal Bolton Hospital, where his wife, Kay, also worked. Dave said:
“With over 20 years experience in the NHS, I have seen first hand how vital blood supplies are.  People may have busy social diaries over the festive period, but giving blood is such a quick and simple thing to do and is the ultimate gift you can give. I urge anyone that can give blood to do something amazing this Christmas and make an appointment to donate. In fact, why not donate on a regular basis and make it a resolution to keep in 2012?”

You can start donating from the age of 17. So do something amazing this New Year and call 0300 123 23 23 or visit the website to find out about your nearest blood donation session.

For more information about blood donation or to make an appointment locally visit, call 0300 123 2323 or follow NHSBT at or

About being a blood donor:
- Over 4% of the eligible population are active blood donors
- The NHS needs 7,000 voluntary donations of blood daily
- A unit of blood is measured as 470mls (or just under a pint)
 - Whole blood donors can give every 16 weeks. That’s three times per year
 - First time donors should be aged between 17-65, weighing at least 50 kg (7 stone 12lbs) and in general good health. If they have donated before, they can start again up to their 70th birthday and there is no upper age limit for donors who have donated in the last two years