People in the south of Scotland are being urged to donate blood after a fall in the number of new donors.
As lockdown restrictions are eased it is thought giving blood has dropped off people's agenda. With hospitals resuming treatments and elective surgery slowing returning, demand for blood products is gradually rising again.
Associate Director for Donor and Transport Services, Lynne Willdigg, says: “Patients in Scotland still need help, particularly from new blood donors. At the start of lockdown we saw a surge in new donors attending, rising to over 12% of the donations we took in in March; however, this has steadily decreased as lockdown relaxed, and over the last two months we have seen substantially below average donations from new donors.
"Each year we can forecast a dip in donations during the summer holidays. This year is unfortunately beyond any of our normal forecasting methods and as NHS Scotland returns to a variable but not quite normal service, we need to be able to deliver whatever products are required.
"That’s why today we’re reaching out to both existing donors and people who have never given blood before to look up our website, find out if there’s a session on, and book in to give blood – if not this week, next week, or the week after that.
"No matter how unpredictable the global health climate is, Scotland needs a steady flow of blood donors as there will always be patients that need your support.”
All donation sessions in the south of Scotland are now run by appointment only, due to social distancing, and are bookable online or by calling the helpline. Sessions range from donor centres to local sessions in church halls.
To sign up as a blood donor and find out where your nearest donation session is, call 0345 90 90 999, or visit scotblood.co.uk