Urgent plea for blood donors across Yorkshire as stocks run dry

An urgent plea has been issued for blood donors to come forward after the drop in stocks was labelled a "serious concern".

The number of people donating has fallen because of staff and donor illness, mainly linked to the recent rise in coronavirus cases, with concern that supplies could diminish further during the summer holiday period.

Now NHS Blood and Transplant centres across Leeds, Sheffield and Bradford are appealing for people to come forward.

Lynn Ainsworth, a manager at Leeds City Donation Centre said: "It's a serious concern. It's the start of the summer holidays, people are going away and also the Covid cases are starting to increase as well and that has an impact on people's ability to attend.

"We are already speaking to local and national hospitals just to make them aware of the situation and to ask them to think about the blood products that they're using."

Typically donations are lower across the summer period, but in some areas they are only running on three days' worth of blood reserves.

The NHS says stocks have fallen because hospitals are requesting more blood than is currently being donated.

The demand for blood has returned to pre-pandemic levels as hospitals catch up on the backlog of routine activity that was postponed.

NHS Blood and Transplant says that, while donor sessions held in community venues such as church halls are full, the blood donor centres in cities have unfilled appointments.

In Bradford, just over half of appointments are booked. In Sheffield the figure is 44% and in Leeds the number of people coming forward is at three quarters of normal levels.

Barnsley, which serves much of the Yorkshire region, has around three-and-a-half days of blood, whereas it normally aims to hold six days.

Mark Chambers, NHSBT assistant director of planning, said: "We are still supplying hospitals with all the blood they need. However we need to stop the decline in blood stocks now.

"We urgently need more people to make appointments to give blood at our Yorkshire donor centres.

"If you are one of our amazing donors in Sheffield, Bradford or Leeds, please make and keep an appointment.

"And if you have never donated before, now is a great time to make your first donation. You will be helping the NHS at an important time. Every appointment counts."

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