Every hour, of every day, an average of 250 blood donations are used in hospitals across the country by medics battling to save people’s lives.
So much blood is needed, health bosses urged people to consider making donating their New Year’s resolution.
So it may be confusing on the face of it to learn sessions held regularly across the Fylde coast are set to be axed in the near future.
And it’s a valid question: Why does the NHS keep appealing for donors if it doesn’t need as much of the red stuff as it used to?
Kirstie Johnson, area manager for the Blood and Transplant service, said: “The demand for blood is reducing partly due to the work we are doing to make sure blood is used appropriately, and partly because of improvements in clinical practice, such as the introduction of keyhole surgery.
“This means we do not need to supply as much blood to hospitals, and that we need to reduce the amount of blood donation sessions that we hold.”
But 200,000 donors stop giving every year, for a variety of reasons, including age or ill health, leaving bosses scrambling to recruit more just to tread water.
“Whilst we need to collect less blood overall, we still need all our loyal donors to keep regularly giving blood to make sure we can continue to meet the needs of all patients,” Kirstie added. “We thank our donors across Lancashire for their lifesaving generosity.”
A letter delivered to people signed up to give blood hinted at sessions being scapped, saying bosses were ‘reviewing the blood donations sessions in your area’, which may ‘affect where you can give blood in the future’.
“Our review will establish whether we could collect donations more efficiently in your area by focusing our sessions at larger venues with more donation charis so that we could see a higher number of donors at each venue,” it said.
“It’s important we collect the blood patients need more efficiently and keep costs for the NHS as low as possible.”
The service has since confirmed to The Gazette sessions held at Blackpool Scout and Guide Hut in Devonshire Road, Cleveleys Community Centre in Kensington Road, and St Oswald’s Parish Church in Preesall, are earmarked for closure.
They are all ‘six-bed sessions that can only accommodate a limited number of donors’, the service said, though Kirstie accepted: “We understand some donors, particularly in more rural areas such as Preesall, will not be able to travel to an alternative session, and we thank them for the lives they have already saved.”
Those with appointments should keep them unless told otherwise, while the service is still searching for more black donors to come forward to meet the demand for blood required by sickle cell patients. That appeal came after a 75 per cent hike in the amount of Ro blood – a special subtype most common in blackpeople – being issued to hospitals from 2014-16.
Mike Stredder, director of blood donation at NHS Blood and Transplant, added: “Hospital blood use is declining by three to four per cent a year, and this means sometimes we need to consider reducing the amount of blood donation sessions we hold.
“It’s important we do not waste precious donations by collecting too much blood.”