Call for blood donors amid lowest number this century

Active blood donors in Scotland fell from more than 105,000 to fewer than 92,000.

Call for blood donors amid lowest number this century Getty Images

Hospitals in Scotland have recorded the smallest yearly number of registered blood donors this century, prompting a call for people to give blood.

In the last year, active blood donors in Scotland fell from more than 105,000 to fewer than 92,000, according to figures released by NHS Scotland.

It meant 13,000 fewer people (13%) were giving blood in a single year.

The Scottish National Blood Transfusion Service (SNBTS) is calling for new donors, or those who have not given blood for a while, to come forward over the festive period to boost donor numbers.

Dr Sylvia Armstrong-Fisher of SNBTS said 3,300 donors needed to be giving blood each week to ensure that supplies remain at “safe levels”.

“With fewer people donating regularly, we want to welcome 50 new or returning blood donors every single day over the festive and winter period,” she said.

SNBTS, which is part of NHS Scotland, has started offering more weekend sessions at its donor centres across the country.

The organisation has also opened a new flagship donor centre in Livingston.

“Maintaining a safe and regular supply of blood to hospitals is our top priority,” Dr Armstrong-Fisher added.

“Thank you to everyone who has supported patients in Scotland over the past two years.

“We look forward to welcoming you soon.”

Kate McRae, 29, who received 12 lifesaving blood transfusions following a postpartum haemorrhage after giving birth, has called on others to support the campaign this winter.

Her husband, Mike, 35, who has colitis, a condition affecting the colon, also received a life-changing transfusion when he was 18.

The couple, who have two daughters – four-month-old Abigail and two-year-old Hollie – said they wanted to thank those who already give blood, particularly those who helped save their lives.

“I lost nearly all the blood in my body,” Mrs McRae said.

“There’s no doubt that without those people my children wouldn’t have a mother, and my husband wouldn’t have a wife.

“It’s the best thing you could give this Christmas.”

Dr Musa Watila, a speciality doctor in neurology at Aberdeen Royal Infirmary, who lives with the blood disorder sickle cell disease, needs transfusions every eight weeks.

He has supported SNBTS’s campaign this winter, adding: “I understand very well what it means to be on the other side of the table as a patient.”