Winter colds could scupper blood supplies

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AN urgent appeal has been issued for blood donors with fears that coughs and sneezes could scupper the normal supplies.

NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT) will hold a session in Morpeth tomorrow and it hopes that new donors will come forward.

October often sees the start of the cold and flu season, which can mean that existing donors are unable to give blood due to feeling unwell.

With only four per cent of the eligible population regularly giving blood, it is important that others come forward to fill the gaps.

NHSBT spokesman Darren Bowen said: “For many October can be a quieter time of the year and with the dark nights drawing in it can be tempting to stay indoors.

“We are urging donors to come forward this month to help maintain blood stocks.

“If you are generally in good health you could potentially help to save up to three lives with every donation you give.

“Colds and flu can have a knock-on effect with blood stocks — this is why we need people to act now to help save and improve patients’ lives.”

Donated blood is not only used in emergency situations, but also for patients undergoing surgery or receiving treatment for cancer and blood diseases, such as leukaemia.

Donors should be aged between 17 and 65, weigh more than 50kg (7 stone, 12 lbs) and be in general good health. There is no upper age limit for those who have donated in the last two years.

The Morpeth session will be held at Storey Park Community Centre tomorrow from 1.30pm to 3.45pm and from 4.30pm to 7pm.

There will also be a chance to donate at Ponteland Memorial Hall in Darras Road on Thursday, October 27, in two sessions from 2pm to 4pm, and from 4.45pm to 7pm.

For more information or to book an appointment call 0300 123 2323 or visit www.blood.co.uk