Blood donors are being urged to make and keep appointments at Sheffield Donor Centre before Christmas, as NHS Blood and Transplant warns it needs to build up blood stocks ahead of the critical festive period.
There are still 700 blood donation appointments unfilled at the Sheffield Donor Centre in Cathedral Court in the six weeks leading up to New Year.
During late November and through December, donations drop and some people simply do not turn up for their appointments, particularly in the week before Christmas. a time when people are busy shopping and preparing for festivities.
NHS Blood and Transplant say they need blood donors to make and keep their appointments to avoid an even more serious pre-Christmas slump.
This year it fears that the forecast bad weather could keep even more donors away, with the Met Office predicting below average temperatures with a greater risk of frost and snow.
They are now urging donors to keep their appointment to give blood in November and December, as every potential donation could save up to three lives.
Donors who need to cancel their appointment are being asked to give at least three days notice so the slot can be given to someone else – as there are around 8,036 active blood donors resident in Sheffield.
Those who are unable to find an appointment at a local community venue such as a church hall are being urged to keep checking as cancellations mean slots can become available at short notice.
However, permanent donor centres have the best appointment availability.
Currently, existing donors are being prioritised so, people wanting to donate for the first time may not be able to find an appointment.
Instead those who can’t see an appointment are asked to make one to donate in the New Year.
A serious drop in donations could affect the supply of blood to tens of thousands of people in England who will need transfusions over the festive period as treatment for a blood condition, or cancer, or due to surgery, childbirth or an accident.
Donors with all blood groups re being asked to keep their lifesaving appointment in the run up to, and over Christmas, but vulnerable groups such as O negative, B negative and A negative are particularly important.
Mike Stredder, Director of Blood Donation for NHS Blood and Transplant, said: “Please make and keep an appointment to give blood at Sheffield donor centre.
“If you are having difficulties making your appointment, please make sure you contact us so that we can offer the slot to someone else. We need to collect blood throughout November and December to build up stocks in time for Christmas.
“Demand for lifesaving blood doesn’t stop for Christmas. But England’s stock levels can drop dramatically if too many donor appointments go missed or unfilled.
“We know that donations slump and cancellations rise in the middle of December and the cold weather forecast could make the situation worse.
“We need our loyal donors to donate at Sheffield donor centre more than ever at this time of year, to make sure hospitals have the blood that seriously ill children and adults will need over Christmas and the New Year. Each donation can save up to three lives.”
You can make, view and change appointments by calling 0300 123 23 23 or online at www.blood.co.uk