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Make your New Year’s resolution to give blood

NHS Blood and Transplant is asking the public to do things differently in 2017 and make their New Year’s resolution to become a blood donor.

NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT) always needs first time donors to replace those who can’t donate any more, and to ensure they have the right mix of blood groups to meet patient needs.

You can donate blood at the Memorial Theatre in Frome and the next session is Tuesday 24th January. Appointments can be made by visiting
www.blood.co. uk.

More than half of current blood donors are aged over 45 so it’s especially important that younger people  come forward to  donate blood now and in the years to come. By becoming a blood donor you can help ensure that patients have access to the blood they need, when they need it. By giving up just one hour of your time you could save or improve up to three lives.

NHS Blood and Transplant needs donors from all blood groups and communities but is particularly looking for new donors from black and Asian communities, and donors with the universal blood group O negative.

A recent survey conducted by NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT),  highlighted confusion and myths about who is able to donate. Of the 2,126 adults surveyed, 20% believed it was true that having a tattoo would prevent them from donating, 16% felt the same about piercings, 15% believed that you can’t donate if you smoke and 3% thought vegetarians wouldn’t be able to donate.

NHSBT is urging potential donors to check the donation criteria on the www.blood.co.uk website. While people currently need to wait four months after a new tattoo or piercing, there are no specific criteria preventing smokers or vegetarians from donating. Many people who believe they can’t donate, may discover they can.

Mike Stredder, director of blood donation at NHS Blood and Transplant, said, “The New Year has traditionally been a time when people think about giving things up. This year we’re asking people to make a new kind of resolution and register to give blood. Or if you’ve already done so but haven’t managed to donate, we’d love to welcome you to one of our sessions in 2017.

“It’s easy to sign up to become a blood donor and book an appointment, online, via an app or on the phone. Each donation can potentially save up to three lives. In 2017 don’t just give up, give.”

In general, as long as you are fit and healthy, weigh over 7 stone 12 lbs (50kg) and are aged between 17 and 66 (up to 70 if you have given blood before) you should be able to give blood. If you are over 70, you need to have given blood in the last two years to continue donating.

If you’re already a blood donor, why not look into whether you could become a platelet donor.  Donors with the A negative blood group are particularly needed as they can help any patient, regardless of blood type. One platelet donation can help up to three adults or twelve babies or children.

It’s quick and easy to register to become a blood donor, visit www.blood .co.uk, download a give blood App, search ‘NHSGiveBlood’ in the app store or contact 0300 1232323. You can donate platelets at your nearest donor centre. If you already give blood, ask about platelet donation at your next appointment.