NHS urges people to keep their blood donation appointments during lockdown

I do not like needles, but I decided it's worth a little bit of discomfort to help others, and donated blood this week in Banbury.

I passed out and fainted after donating for the first time while attending West Virginia University in the US.

Before moving to the UK three years ago I was a regular blood donor for several years where we lived in south Alabama.

I donated for the fourth time this week while living in the UK. But it was my first time donating in Banbury at the donor centre held at the Peoples Church facility. I was comforted to learn blood donation is considered essential travel during the lockdown.

Matt Elofson, reporter at the Banbury Guardian, who donated blood at the donor centre held at Peoples Church in Banbury

Since I started donating blood I also learned my blood type, which is a rare type called O negative blood.

I learned O negative blood is often called the ‘universal blood type’ because people of any blood type can receive it.

This makes it important in an emergency or when a patient’s blood type is unknown. Air ambulances and emergency response vehicles carry O negative supplies for emergencies.

While blood stocks are good for the NHS during the coronavirus pandemic they are encouraging people to keep their exhisting appointments to donate blood.

Give Blood UK truck stationed at the donor centre in Banbury

The NHS has put extra safety measures in place for people donating during the lockdown, which includes extra cleaning.

An NHS spokesperson said: “We need people who are fit and healthy to keep donating as normal.

"A lot of people have called us asking if sessions are still going ahead or with questions about safety.

"We need them to know that our sessions and donor centres are still open and that travel to a blood donation sessions is essential for the NHS during the lockdown.”

“Blood donation is a reason to do something amazing. Blood donation saves lives.”

There is a permanent blood donation centre in Oxford at John Radcliffe Hospital, OX3 9BQ

To make appointment to donate or for more information, call 0300 123 23 23, download the NHS Give Blood app, or visit www.blood.co.uk*A message from the Banbury Guardian Editor:

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