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Urgent appeal for blood donors

Fergus Walsh | 23:09 UK time, Monday, 20 December 2010



Is your blood type O negative? Have you donated blood before? Are you in good health? If the answer to ALL of those questions is yes, then the NHS needs you - before Christmas.

Stocks of O negative are running low. There are about three days supply, instead of the usual five or more. Just 7% of the population are O negative, and they are often referred to as "universal donors". That is because their blood can be given to anyone - so it is especially useful to the health service.

Jon Latham from NHS Blood and Transplant issued this urgent appeal: "We would like O neg donors to have a look at our website - www.blood.co.uk - and see if there is a session available for them and then ring our call centre on 0300 123 23 23 for an appointment. If there is not a convenient appointment, please still come in and we will do our best to accommodate you. Bear in mind it is Christmas and the best gift is to save a life and this will save lives. "

Regular donors of all blood types are asked to keep their appointments in the coming weeks. The reason for the shortfall in blood is that the ice and snow have made it impossible for many people to get to donor sessions. Some sessions have even had to be cancelled.

I'm used to being filmed as part of my job but today was the first time that I have talked to camera whilst donating blood. But since I am O negative and was due to donate this week, it seemed a reasonable way of publicising the appeal.

If you haven't given blood before then why not consider making it a New Year's resolution? You need to be at 17 and generally healthy. Just 4% of the population donate blood, and the other 96% have a lot to thank them for.

One last point - on blood donation and aspirin. You can still be a donor if you take daily aspirin, but you must let the medical team know. They cannot use the platelets if you have taken aspirin in the past five days, but they can still use the red blood cells and plasma.

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