Coronavirus: Donors urged to travel further to give blood

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image captionThe Welsh Blood Service needs about 100,000 donations a year

People are being urged to go the extra mile to give blood during the coronavirus pandemic.

Travelling to donate is classed as "essential travel" and the Welsh Blood Service is now asking people to travel to regional hubs to donate.

While stocks in Wales are currently healthy, pressure on the service means less blood is being taken.

About 100,000 units of blood need to be donated to supply Wales' 19 hospitals every year.

The service said since the outbreak 30% less blood had been collected - but with an equal reduction in demand from hospitals, stock remained healthy.

However, the service said it was under pressure and was now reducing collections to protect staff and maintain the supply.

To allow people to donate close to their home or work, weekly collections had been held in 30 locations across Wales.

Now donors will be asked to travel to one of five regional hubs, held in different places each week.

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Donating blood

  • Anyone aged between 17 and 66, who weighs over 7st 12lb (50kg) can donate, but there are height and weight restrictions for women under 20
  • Blood is not just used for accidents and emergencies - cancer and leukaemia patients need regular transfusions
  • People donate roughly three quarters of a pint (about 425ml)
  • Blood's short shelf life means stocks have to be replenished on a daily basis
  • There are four blood groups - O positive is the most common blood group in Wales
  • All donations are tested for HIV, hepatitis B, C and E, human T lymphotropic virus and syphilis
  • Source: Welsh Blood Service

Director Alan Prosser said: "We are asking our amazing blood donors to go the extra mile to help our NHS at this difficult time."

"We urge anyone who is eligible and would like to make a life-saving blood donation to visit our website to find and book an appointment at a regional donation hub near them - even if it isn't the venue they usually attend."

Under the changes, existing donors will be notified by text or phone call of any donation hub sessions taking place within a 15-mile (24km)radius of their usual donation point.

They will then need to make an appointment at their nearest hub.

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