Plea for blood donors to keep appointments in lockdown 2.0

A fifth of blood donors did not attend their donation appointments at the start of the nation’s first Covid-19 lockdown, health leaders have said.

NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT) said that 22% of donors did not attend their donation sessions between mid-March and mid-April.

The figures were released as the organisation said that it was “vital” for fit and well donors to stick to their sessions to maintain blood stocks.

It said that appointment-keeping rates dropped about a week before formal lockdown started in March to 78% and lasted about four weeks.

NHSBT reminded donors that blood donation is classed as “essential travel” during the latest period of social restrictions.

It said that polling suggests some people have concerns about the safety of blood donation during the pandemic.

But it said extra safety measures are in place at donation centres.

Su Brailsford, associate medical director at NHS Blood and Transplant, said: “It’s vital for patient care over the winter months that donors keep attending sessions.

“We recognise that in order to do this they want to feel safe and that is why safety is our top priority.

“Giving blood now is as safe as it’s always been and all sessions are Covid-secure.

“No one with symptoms can come inside because of triaging on arrival and inside donors are spaced apart, and wear face coverings to avoid asymptomatic people spreading the virus.

“On the whole donors tell us these new steps put them at ease.

“We’ve seen a fantastic response from donors so far in the pandemic and thanks to their generally high rates of attendance blood stocks have remained good.

“These next few weeks and months will be critical for hospitals and it’s vital people know that our doors remain open as normal and that travelling to donate is essential travel because it helps the NHS.

“Blood donation is one of the ways you can help the NHS at this time.”

– To find out more about donating blood during the pandemic visit or call 0300 123 23 23.