Urgent call for blood donors in Stratford as NHS builds stock for critical winter

The temporary donor centre in Westfield Stratford City. Picture: NHSBT

The temporary donor centre in Westfield Stratford City. Picture: NHSBT - Credit: Archant

Blood donors are urgently needed to fill appointment slots in Stratford as the NHS tries to build stocks for a potentially challenging winter.

Less than one in 10 appointments available throughout this month at the pop-up blood donor centre in Westfield Stratford City have been booked.

A drop in footfall from workers and shoppers during the pandemic has meant donor centres across London have lower appointment fill rates than usual, particularly at temporary sites like in Stratford.

These pop-up centres mainly collect convalescent plasma but has immediate appointments available for blood donations.

NHS Blood and Transplant needs to build stocks for the winter to help hospitals through a second wave of covid-19 as well as seasonal pressures.

Blood donations are always needed for routine operations, saving accident victims and treating patients with serious illnesses like cancer.

Each donation can save or improve up to three lives.

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Demand is almost at pre-pandemic levels but it is harder to collect blood now due to social distancing measures.

NHS Blood and Transplant’s head of blood donation for the east, Gayle Franklin, said: “We urgently need our donors to make and keep an appointment to give blood.

“Currently blood stocks are good, but as we enter what could be a very challenging winter period, we need our loyal donors more than ever to help us to keep hospitals supplied with lifesaving blood.

“If you are fit and healthy, please make an appointment to donate, and if you need to cancel please let us know as soon as possible.”

All blood donation centres are open as usual with extra safety measures are in place, including temperature checks for donors on arrival, sanitiser gels and hand washing facilities, and additional cleaning by staff.

Donors are reminded to follow all relevant government guidance, such as the use of public transport, when making a journey to give blood.

Giving blood is exempt from Covid-19 travel restrictions, even during a full lockdown.

Call 0300 123 23 23, download the NHS Give Blood app, or visit blood.co.uk to book appointments and check the latest guidance on Covid-19 and giving blood.