More giving blood as donors rush to 'do their bit' during pandemic

Donors have been visiting hubs like this one at Swansea's Grand Theatre Credit: ITV Cymru Wales photo

The Welsh Blood Service has hailed the generosity of donors who've answered the "call to arms" to give blood during the coronavirus pandemic.

The service says it's seen an increase in first-time donors compared with the same period last year, as well as a rise in those returning after a long absence.

It also says two-thirds of donors have travelled to a different venue to their normal clinic during the crisis.

Donors have been visiting hubs like this one at Swansea's Grand Theatre Credit: ITV Cymru Wales photo

"Inherently the population of Wales are very, very generous. They always answer our calls to arms. And I think this is an opportunity where people feel they can give something."

Jane Davey, Welsh Blood Service

With many of its usual venues shut because of social distancing rules, the Welsh Blood Service is operating five regional 'hubs' each week to allow people to donate.

Last week, the stage at Swansea's Grand Theatre was transformed into a clinic.

Laura, who hadn't attempted to donate for 15 years, said giving blood was a chance "to give something back" after her son was treated by the NHS for epilepsy.

Laura successfully donated blood for the first time at Swansea's Grand Theatre Credit: ITV Cymru Wales

Basically at the moment I'm feeling slightly redundant in ways I can help. When I saw the advert looking for blood donors I thought it would be a perfect opportunity to try and give something back.

Laura - donor

Donating blood is classed as "essential travel", though donors are asked to book an appointment before making the journey to a hub.

Upon arrival, donors are "triaged" - asked some questions about their health - and social distancing rules are followed wherever possible.

When the time comes to donate, staff carrying out the procedure wear PPE, including aprons and masks.

Louise Williams normally works in the transplantation and immunogenetics lab at Welsh Blood Service headquarters in Llantrisant.

But with her usual duties on hold because of Covid-19, she's volunteered to help out with cleaning duties at the clinics.

I love talking to the donors, some of them are brilliant. Leaving the house can be a bit scary for some people, so I just love talking to them and doing my bit to help.

Louise Williams - Welsh Blood Service
Social distancing rules are followed where possible at the clinics Credit: ITV Cymru Wales

With hospitals postponing non-essential surgery in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, demand for blood stocks is lower than normal.

But donors are being urged to keep coming forward, especially as lockdown measures begin to be eased.

Blood stocks are currently very healthy thanks to the commitment of new and existing donors.

Alan Prosser, Welsh Blood Service

You can find out more about donating blood in Wales on the Welsh Blood Service website.

  • Watch the full report below: