Call for Scots to donate blood this summer

Posted on 12/06/2014 by

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bloodScots are being urged to make an extra special effort to give blood in the run up to World Blood Donor Day 2014 on Saturday (14 June).

The call for people to give blood comes as it was announced that, from next month, O negative blood will be routinely carried by doctors from the Emergency Medical Retrieval Service (EMRS) on Scottish Ambulance Service air ambulance helicopters – enabling patients to be given a blood transfusion more quickly.

Public Health Minister Michael Matheson today welcomed this announcement as he met with consultants from the EMRS team at the Glasgow Donor Centre to encourage more people to give blood.

While visiting the centre, Mr Matheson also met with blood donors to thank them for making this life-saving contribution.

He said: “Whether you’ve given blood before, or have never managed to get round to donating, I’d urge you to make an extra effort this World Blood Donor Day and make that potentially life-saving contribution. The importance of making a regular commitment to donating blood is one that the EMRS team are all too aware of and I have no doubt they will have seen first-hand how giving blood can really help people in need.

“The Scottish Government is committed to ensuring the continued the future supply of blood tissues and cells, which is why we are investing £43m in a new National Centre of Excellence for the Scottish National Blood Transfusion Service (SNBTS). This centre will help ensure the continued future supply of blood tissues and cells, as well as facilitating the effective introduction of new developments, products and safety measures in a flexible, state-of-the-art building.”

Dr Moira Carter, Associate Director, Donor Services, SNBTS, said: “World Blood Donor Day is kicking off an unforgettable sporting summer for Scotland. As we look forward to the World Cup, the Commonwealth Games, and the Ryder Cup, we anticipate donations may drop off by as much as 20%. However, the need for blood continues, so please do take time out from your schedule in this sporting summer to donate.

“Blood Donor Week is a fantastic opportunity for us to thank the 138,000 people in Scotland who have given blood in the past 12 months. We have been delighted to welcome 3,290 17 year olds who have started giving blood so far during 2014, but we need more to come forward. As the overall population ages, these young donors are even more important in making sure we meet the needs of patients in Scotland today and into the future.”

Dr Neil Hughes, consultant in Pre-Hospital Medicine, said: “The Emergency Medical Retrieval Service helps patients when they need it most. We will attend major trauma incidents in Scotland, to provide emergency care for patients who are critically injured at the scene. We also manage and transport critically injured patients with the Scottish Ambulance Service from remote and rural Scotland to centres which offer the care the patient needs.

“As O Negative is the only blood group that can safely be given to anyone in an emergency, a transfusion in these circumstances can buy precious time for critically ill patients. We would like to extend our thanks to all O Negative blood donors for making this possible.”

SNBTS are asking in particular those donors with blood types O+, O-, A- and B- to make a real effort to give blood in the next few weeks, to ensure blood supplies are well-stocked over summer.

To register as a blood donor or to find out where your nearest donation session is, call 0845 90 90 999, text ‘blood’ to 61611, or visit http://www.facebook.com/givebloodforscotland @givebloodscot #blooddonorweek2013

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