Health & Safety

article icon

NHS National Blood Service Needs More Donors

13 July 2010

In 2009, 2.1 million blood donations were collected from 1.6 million donors in England. While these may appear to be large figures, the reality is that it only represents 4% of the population and, in recent years, the number of active donors has fallen by around 6%.

The National Blood Service - donating blood save lives!

In England, somewhere in the region of 8,000 blood transfusions are carried out every day. Therefore, the need for blood donations remains high.

As blood can only be safely stored for a relatively short period of time, hospital blood stocks need to be continuously refreshed. For example, red blood cells can only be stored for 35 days and platelets (the part of the blood that helps prevent excessive bleeding) can only be stored for five days.

In particular, blood donations are needed from black and Asian people because the current levels of black and Asian donors are very low. Certain ethnic groups often require certain blood types, so having a range of donations from a wide range of ethnic groups provides a more effective way of helping to meet the potential demand for blood.

In England and Wales, the blood donation process is overseen by the NHS National Blood and Transplant Service which relies on voluntary donations from the general public in order to keep the service running. Donating blood is a relatively quick procedure (it usually takes less than an hour), and it is virtually painless.

The websites of the National Blood Services provides more information about how you can volunteer to give blood, and some have an on-line form that allows you to book an appointment to donate blood in a location near to where you live or work.

Volunteer Helpers Needed

The service also needs help from people who would like to get involved, there are lots of things they can do to help, e.g.

  • Local Organiser Volunteers
  • Poster Contact Volunteers
  • Centre Based Volunteers
  • Student Rep Volunteers
  • Local Organiser Volunteers

Volunteers receive all materials, travel and other expenses. Those interested in becoming a Volunteer should call: 0300 123 23 23, or fill in the online Volunteer form at: