On 12 October 2022 NHS Blood and Transplant declared its first ever amber alert over blood supplies, meaning overall blood stocks in England were at a critically low level.
Blood donors from all backgrounds are needed to ensure there is the right blood available for patients who need it. To meet demands in England, 400 new donors are required every day.
Giving Blood: The Process
The entire donation process, from entry to exit, typically takes less than an hour.
An average donation is about one pint, and the blood taken is usually replenished within 24 hours.
Did You Know?
Each blood donation can help save up to three adults or six babies.
Blood can be used to help patients with medical conditions such as anaemia, cancer blood disorders, and those having surgery.
It is still safe to donate blood even if you’ve had a tattoo, piercing or have the sickle cell trait.
Why Do We Need More Black Blood Donors
Currently only 1.5% of donors in England are Black. 40,000 more Black donors are needed to meet the growing demand for better-matched blood. A match is most likely to come from a donor of the same ethnicity.
Black blood donors are ten times more likely to have the Ro and B positive blood types urgently needed to treat the 15,000 people in the UK suffering from sickle cell disease.
What Is Sickle Cell?
Sickle cell is an inherited blood disorder that causes red blood cells to become half-moon shaped. This shape makes it harder for the cells to move around the body, causing complications such as painful episodes, frequent infections, and anaemia.
There are around 15,000 people in the UK living with sickle cell, approximately 90% of whom are Black.