Urgent need for your blood

Arthur Baldwin after giving his 100th blood donation in Spalding last year
Arthur Baldwin after giving his 100th blood donation in Spalding last year
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DOCTOR CALLING: By Dr Kevin Hill

It may not be the first thing that springs to mind whilst enjoying the upcoming Easter break but stocks of some types of blood group tend to dip during the bank holiday period, so South Lincolnshire Clinical Commissioning Group is urging people to come forwards to donate blood.

Around 6,000 units of blood are needed every day to help save the lives of sick and injured people across England and Wales, and for some people who have experienced severe blood loss, a blood transfusion can mean the difference between life and death.

Red blood cells only have a shelf life of 35 days and platelets have a shelf life of just five days.

This means that blood cannot be stockpiled, making it vital for existing and new blood donors to keep coming forwards, to ensure that supplies of blood are available when they are needed.

When your mind is focused on enjoying your holiday it is easy to overlook the crucial contribution you can make by donating blood.

It is easy sometimes to put off giving blood. We can all get caught up in enjoying our holidays and planning things to do, but it would be unbelievably helpful if more of us could take just a few minutes out of our schedule to give blood.

The universal blood group O Rh Negative is often in short supply as demand for it tends to be greater. In addition, we need to do all we can to guarantee supplies of rarer blood groups, including A Rh Negative, B Rh Negative and AB Rh Negative.

Generally speaking, provided you are fit and healthy, weigh over seven stone 12 pounds (50kg) and are aged between 17 and 66 (up to 70 if you have given blood before), you should be able to give blood. People aged over 70 need to have given blood in the last two years in order to continue donating.

• To find out more or book an appointment to donate visit www.blood.co.uk or call 0300 1232323.