What do anaemia, cancer, surgery and childbirth have in common?
They can all cause someone to need a blood transfusion. And for that, hospitals need blood.
At UNISON we know how vital blood donation is, which is why we’ve been taking part in the #missingtype campaign.
NHS Blood and Transplant needs just under 200,000 new donors this year to replace those who can’t donate any more and to ensure we have the right mix of blood groups.
Some 1.1 million people donated blood last year, and more than 184,000 of them were first-time donors. Together, they helped provide 1.89 million units of blood to hospitals, helping up to 5.71 million people.
Although the overall demand for blood is declining and there is not a crisis in blood stocks today, we need to act now to make sure the supply continues into the future.
There are a number of reasons why people are not coming forward to donate blood:
- fear of needles;
- wider and more exotic travel;
- an increasingly busy and digital world where people have less time to give;
- a lack of awareness of the need for a more diverse community of blood donors;
- the increasing popularity of tattoos.
So the service needs more people to start giving blood and replace those who can’t donate any more – whether because of ill health, travel, pregnancy or other reasons – and it needs a more diverse community of donors to meet patients’ needs.