Somerset sees 21% drop in number of new blood donors

The number of people signing up to give blood in Somerset has fallen by more than one-fifth in the past year, according to new figures.

The NHS Blood and Transplant Service said the number of new donors in the county has dropped by 21% between July 2012 and June this year.

The fall is 6% nationally, while in the neighbouring county of Devon there has been a drop of just 1%.

Shailesh Mistry from the service said he was surprised at the figures.

He said: "Seasonally throughout the summer period we do have that downturn but we are surprised that the numbers have been so large this year in particular.

"The donor bases that we do have are of a safe level, which is good, but what we need to ensure is that we are working harder to get new recruits in because we're coming up to the winter months now".

Mr Mistry said a number of factors could be behind the drop, including a lack of information and a "fear" of the actual donation process.

"With each single donation that you make, you could help, save and improve up to three lives. Many people may not know that," he added.

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