More than 1,300 new blood donors needed in Hertfordshire as urgent appeal launched

A donor carer's branded uniform at the Twickenham Donor Centre, south-west London, after a ban on th

There is a particular urgency for more donors of black African and black Caribbean ethnicity to treat people with sickle cell. - Credit: PA

More than 1,300 new blood donors are needed in Hertfordshire over the next year, with an urgent appeal launched for National Blood Week.

NHS Blood and Transplant are urging people in Hertfordshire to give blood after a new target of 1,316 new donors was revealed, with more than one million needed national over the next five years.

There is a particular urgency for more donors of black African and black Caribbean ethnicity to treat people with sickle cell, the fastest growing genetic blood disorder in the UK which affects mostly people of black heritage.

It requires regular transfusions, often with the specific blood sub type Ro, with demand for the sub-type projected to double from 2016/17 to 2025/26.

55 per cent of black blood donors have the Ro subtype compared to 2.4 per cent of donors from other ethnicities.

“Currently we can only meet around half of the demand for Ro blood through our existing donor base and demand for this rare blood type is rising,” said Stephen Cornes, director of blood supply at NHS Blood and Transplant.

“This means many sickle cell patients often receive less well-matched blood which, while clinically suitable, can pose a longer-term risk to patients who receive regular transfusions. We urgently need new black African and black Caribbean donors to come forward and donate blood.

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“In addition to the rarest blood types, we also need one million new donors over the next five years of all blood types. As the NHS treats more patients, we need to grow the total number of donors too.

“We carefully manage stocks to ensure we do not waste any precious blood. If you cannot get an appointment immediately it is because we have enough of your blood type right now. Please book for a later date or respond when we contact you.”

“A shortage of blood donation from people of a Black heritage often means that some patients don’t receive the best blood-type match and are therefore at risk of serious complications,” added Dr Bola Owolabi, director of health inequalities at NHS England.

“I would urge anyone who is able to give blood to come forward as soon as possible – you are vital in saving the lives of your neighbours, friends and communities who are battling this disease.”

To donate blood, visit blood.co.uk, download the GiveBloodNHS app or call 0300 123 23 23.