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Health Matters: National Blood Week

Health Matters: National Blood Week
11 June 2019

Dr Andrew Wilson, clinical chair of NHS Eastern Cheshire Clinical Commissioning Group

Let’s talk about blood. Although I know most people would definitely rather not. Blood is something we all need and being given blood is one of the single most effective treatments to save our lives if we’re facing serious injury or illness. 400 new blood donors are needed across the UK every day and the latest NHS campaign is asking people to become a blood donor at one of the many community venues across Cheshire this summer.

Calling all the men! We particularly need blood from men because male blood has fewer antibodies than female blood and can be matched to more blood products. Research has shown that men are more scared than women to donate blood and more likely to avoid it. However, male blood is more often used for people who’ve had serious accidents or surgery so it really is important that more men donate. To all the women – please keep up the donations, you’re significantly contributing to the amount of blood available which is vital in saving lives.

There are some specific groups whose blood is really needed. People from black African, black Caribbean and mixed heritage backgrounds are more likely to have the rare Ro blood subtype that is vital for sickle cell patients. The O negative blood type is especially important because it is the universal donor group which can be given to almost anyone in emergencies.

The UK has one of the safest blood supplies in the world but to ensure that we keep blood safe, there are some restrictions on who is able to give blood. The NHS Blood and Transplant website lists all the restrictions.

Everyone who registers to become a blood donor will be asked questions about general health and it is extremely important that you answer all questions as honestly as possible so it is safe for you to give blood and for those who may receive it. To find out more about what happens on the day of giving blood, please have a look at the NHS blood and transplant website. You will be very well looked after so there really is nothing to worry about.

To find out more about how you could save a life, please go to www.blood.co.uk or telephone 0300 123 23 23.