Date Published: 4 October 2006

Blood team to be put on standby in Scotland

Health News from Scotland

An elite team of Scotland's most committed blood donors will be able to donate a pint of blood within 24 hours under a new campaign.

First Minister Jack McConnell and Health Minister Andy Kerr both gave blood today to launch the Blood Donor 24 scheme which asks donors to be on standby in case stocks of their blood group reach a low level.

Believed to be the first of its kind in the UK, the scheme has been launched in Edinburgh and Glasgow and aims to recruit 5,000 donors from each city.

Mr McConnell said:

" Blood donors save lives. By giving blood regularly you can make a real difference to the health and well-being, not just of people you have never met, but to those closest to you. It really is the most valuable gift you can give someone.

_ This new service will enable people to give blood when it is needed the most. It is another great example of tailoring our health service to best meet the needs of patients, and I hope that many donors will volunteer."

Mr Kerr added:

" Giving blood is a simple way of saving lives and I would like to take this opportunity to thank the thousands of Scots who give blood regularly.

_ But we know at times there simply isn't enough blood to carry out all the vital treatments the NHS in Scotland carries out every single day.

_ By signing up to Blood Donor 24, donors will be able to give blood when the health service - and patients - need it most, in the knowledge that they are helping save even more lives."

Keith Thompson, National Director of the Scottish National Blood Transfusion Service, said:

" We rely heavily on the goodwill of our donors and appreciate that this is an extra commitment, but their gift of blood will ensure that blood is available when it is urgently needed."

Donors will be asked if they are willing to sign up to Blood Donor 24 at their scheduled appointment. If they agree, they will then be phoned and asked to donate blood at short notice if blood stocks are low or fall below a certain level.

Blood Donor 24 members will be asked to donate three times a year as they normally would. If more than 12 weeks have passed since their last donation, and there is a need for a certain blood group, members of the team will be contacted to let them know their donation is needed now.

Only 5% of the Scottish population regularly give blood. The SNBTS must collect 1,000 units of blood a day.

 

Source: Scottish Executive (Scotland).

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