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What is blood donation?
Donating blood provides a lifeline to those who are in desperate need due to a long-term health issue or emergency. Each time you donate blood, the donation can help save or improve the lives of three adults or seven babies.
Blood has many components which are vital for different uses, including red cells, plasma, and platelets. Red cells are used predominantly in treatments for cancer and blood diseases. Plasma provides proteins, nutrients, and a clotting agent that is vital to stop bleeding. Platelets are tiny cells used to help patients at a high risk of bleeding. They also contribute to the repair of damaged body tissue.
How do I donate blood?
First, you’ll need to register as a blood donor with NHS Blood & Transplant. Next, you’ll receive a list of every blood donation session that’s in your area. Just choose your session, book an appointment and go to give blood.
You can donate 470ml of blood three times a year if you’re female, and four times a year if you are male.
|Become a blood donor
Please call NHS Blood & Transplant on +44 (0) 300 123 23 23 to book your appointment. Please QUOTE ACLT Code “A07” when booking your appointment and a button to click to the NHS website as alternative to register online.
Alternatively, you can register online.
What happens when I give blood?
Each blood donation takes approximately 5-10 minutes. The rest of the time is NHS Blood & Transplant staff taking extra special care of you. Have something to eat before you donate and drink plenty of fluids before and after donation – this will stop you from feeling faint.
Landmark change to blood donation eligibility rules on 14th June 2021 (World Blood Donor Day)
New eligibility rules that will allow more men who have sex with men to donate blood, platelets, and plasma come into effect this week, marking a historic move to make blood donation more inclusive while keeping blood just as safe.
Dr Gail Miflin, Medical and Research Director at NHS Blood and Transplant said:
The SaBTO review took into account the latest available medical and scientific evidence. This included more information about the risk of acquiring infections that can be passed on in blood, more evidence on how well donors comply with our guidelines, and also more evidence that supports the reliability of the blood screening tests we use.
We have one of the safest blood supplies in the world. Anyone may require a blood transfusion in the future and so it’s in all our interests to ensure that we work hard to keep blood safe for patients.
Before every donation, all donors must complete a Donor Health Check and have a private health screening where they may be asked confidential questions based on their completed form. During your private health screening, a small blood drop prick test is taken from your finger to firstly test your iron levels by dropping the blood into a vial of copper sulphate solution. If you have been refused blood or platelet donation you can click here to learn more on haemoglobin and iron levels.
Subject to meeting the other donation rules, the following groups will now be able to donate after 3 months have passed since the last sexual activity:
- men who have had sex with another man
- commercial sex workers
- people who have had sex with a partner at high risk of having a sexually transmitted infection
Previously, commercial sex workers were permanently excluded from blood donation and the other groups had to wait until 12 months had passed before they could donate. The rules are now consistent for all groups that are deferred due to sexual behaviours.
Don’t worry. There are lots of ways you can get involved with our lifesaving work besides this, such as donating stem cells, getting involved with fundraising, or setting up a regular financial donation.