14 June 2018

Today (14 June) is World Blood Donor Day, an event that celebrates the volunteers whose blood saves millions of lives a year globally, as well as a call to action for the continued need for donors to ensure the availability of blood supplies for patients in need.

David Roberts, a BSH Trustee and Medical Director for Blood Donation at NHS Blood and Transplant said: “We have an amazing record not only of blood donation and also leading practice in Transfusion Medicine in the UK. We still need to increase supply of less common blood groups and hope that all clinical and laboratory haematology staff can help by giving blood and using it appropriately!”.

Facts & Figures

In England, NHS Blood & Transplant require 200,000 new blood donors a year, and 6,000 individual donations a day to ensure that they have the required mix of blood groups to meet the demand of patients.

NHS Scotland aim to retain 6 days’ worth of blood supplies across all blood groups, and have this excellent information page showing the current blood stocks held.

The Welsh Blood Service requires 450 donations a day to keep up with demand, and have a useful information page detailing the current blood stocks the service holds.

The Northern Ireland Blood & Transfusion Service also requires regular donations, and last year almost 39,000 people donated their blood to save lives.

As these statistics demonstrate, there is always a demand for blood.

What can haematology professionals do to encourage more donors?

BSH is calling on professionals across the haematology community to do their bit to encourage more people to donate their blood and to use blood effectively, especially by conserving O neg blood.

Talk with your patients

With daily contact with patients, haematology professionals can play a huge role in encouraging patients to talk about blood donation.

Establishing a dialogue with a patient about blood donations – which may have saved their life – can be a powerful means in which to get the patient to go back to friends and family and encourage them to volunteer as a donor.

These patient interactions could have a positive effect in encouraging donations by introducing a human element to the discussion around blood donation. Becoming a blood donor is a big choice, and by seeing the direct positive influence that a blood donation can have is likely to motivate new donors. There is also a need to reactivate donors who have not given for a while, especially from O neg and B neg blood groups.

Lead the way

As haematology professionals, you can lead the way by volunteering to become a blood donor yourself.

Working in haematology every day, you will see the life saving effects that blood donation can have, and how important it is that there is sufficient blood stocks available to meet the demand of all patients.

By becoming a donor, you can play an even greater part in ensuring more lives are saved every day, and in doing so you can inspire many more to donate too.

Further reading

We have selected some related guidelines & articles that you may be interested in on World Blood Donor Day.

BSH Guideline: Administration of blood components

BSH Guideline: Use of platelet transfusions

BSH Guideline: Red cell transfusion in sickle cell disease part one / part two

British Journal of Haematology: Blood donors' perceptions, motivators and deterrents in Sub‐Saharan Africa – a scoping review of evidence

British Journal of Haematology: Blood donations: justifying blood donor restrictions