Drop in number of Havering residents making life-saving blood donations
PUBLISHED: 18:00 13 June 2015
The number of people who came forward to make blood donations in Havering fell by 5.4 per cent in the past year
Jenni Bonifacio, 35, Romford
Jenni made her 23rd donation last month.
She said: “I have been donating since I was 18 years old, but have had to take breaks for travel and pregnancy.
“I started when recruiters came to my college, Waltham Forest College, looking for new donors.
“They explained how one donation can help save the lives of three people.
“When I started donating I found out I was blood type O negative, which is the blood type that any recipient can have, so is used in emergencies.
“This made me want to carry on and continue to donate.
“I feel proud that just an hour or so of my time can go on to help save people’s lives, I like to be able to do my bit.
“I would say, lots of people would love to do their bit for charity and volunteer or donate money. This type of donation can literally be the difference between life and death.
“It takes only about an hour of your time and knowing the good you’re doing makes you feel happy and proud.”
The figures have been revealed as the National Blood Service launches a campaign to increase donor numbers nationwide.
In the year to April 2014, 3,651 people in Havering donated almost 7,000 pints of blood. But 12 months on, almost 200 fewer people have opted in, leading to a similar fall in the number of donations.
Jon Latham, assistant director for donor services and marketing at NHS Blood and Transplant, said: “We simply can’t ignore the fact that there has been a stark reduction in the number of new donors coming forward – a trend seen across the world.
“While we can meet the needs of patients now, it’s important we strengthen the donor base for the future.
“If we don’t attract new people across England and North Wales to donate it will put more pressure on the ability to provide the right type of blood the NHS needs for patients in the future.”
Forty per cent fewer volunteers came forward across England and North Wales to give blood last year compared to 10 years ago.
The service believes one of the main reasons for the lack of fresh donors is the increasing pressure on people’s free time, with 27pc of people saying they have been too busy.
Potential volunteers are also prevented from donating blood if they have travelled abroad to certain countries or had a tattoo in the past six months.
The blood unit is now calling for 204,000 new volunteers to start donating so the service can continue to provide blood for those in need.
Jon said: “Giving blood is an amazing thing to do.
“If you live in London and haven’t donated before, please help us reverse the decline in new donors.
“It is simple and easy and will only take an hour of your time – it could literally be a matter of life and death for somebody else.”
To donate visit blood.co.uk