NHS Blood and Transplant is appealing to its donors with O negative blood to donate at Oxford blood donor centre to help with low stocks.
O negative is the ‘universal’ blood donor group which can be given to almost anyone, making it especially important in emergencies.
Donated blood moves around the whole country but local levels demonstrate the need for help.
The Oxford area blood stock holding unit only has three days of O negative, whereas NHS Blood and Transplant seeks to hold six days of stock.
Nationally, there has been a lower than expected number of donations so far this autumn and hospitals have used more blood than predicted.
There is an urgent need to rebuild stocks of all blood groups in the next few weeks, but especially O negative, before the winter weather stops many people from donating.
Oxford Donor Centre has around 400 appointments available over the next four weeks. Donors with O negative who cannot book a convenient appointment should call 0300 123 23 23 and NHS Blood and Transplant will find a space for them as soon as possible.
Mike Stredder, director blood donation for NHS Blood and Transplant, said: “We’re urging our loyal blood donors, especially our O negative donors, to help us out by making appointments to give blood as soon as they can at Bradford donor centre.
“Seriously ill hospital patients rely on blood donors to save their lives. O negative can be used safely with any patient which makes it particularly valuable in accident and emergency situations.
“Only around seven to eight per cent of the population have O negative blood, yet demand for this special group accounts for around 13 per cent of all hospital requests.
He added: “If you are an existing O negative donor, please make an appointment to donate as soon as you can or give us a call.”
NHS Blood and Transplant is making the appeal especially over the permanent blood donor centre.
Community venues in church halls in the wider area are more likely to be full already in the next few weeks because they had fewer appointments initially available.
First time donors might not be able to find appointments at the moment. Oxford Donor Centre is prioritising existing donors before Christmas to ensure they can rebuild stocks.
However, NHS Blood and Transplant always welcome new donors and need blood throughout the year. New donors who cannot get an appointment before Christmas are urged to make an appointment to donate in the New Year.
Important information for donors:
• Oxford Donor Centre is at Part Academic Block, John Radcliffe Hospital, Headley Way, Headington, Oxford OX3 9BQ.
• Existing blood donors, especially O negative donors, are urged to make an appointment by calling 0300 123 23 23 or visiting www.blood.co.uk.
• O negative donors who can’t get an appointment should call on 0300 123 23 23 and a space will be allocated as soon as one becomes available.