Residents in Tooting and the surrounding area are being urged to book appointments to give blood at their newly-renovated local donor centre in a drive to boost life-saving supplies.
Donors giving blood at the centre situated on Cranmer Terrace, at St George’s Hospital, will benefit from a reconfigured layout to reduce waiting time and increase capacity. There will also be additional parking to improve accessibility and make it easier for people to donate.
Blood is required for a variety of reasons – for example, treating people with traumatic injuries, cancer or life-threatening complications from childbirth. Currently, up to 300 blood and platelet donors attend the Tooting Donor Centre every week and these donors make a vital contribution to ensuring patients around the country get the life-saving treatments they need.
To mark the renovations, the centre hosted an event on 4 April, where current blood donors and local people came together and heard from a blood recipient about the difference the donations have made to their life. They also heard about the need for more blood donors in the London area.
NHS Blood and Transplant needs just under 200,000 new donors this year to replace those who can no longer donate for health or other reasons and ensure they have the right mix of donors to meet patient needs now and in the future. There is a particular need for more donors from black and Asian backgrounds and platelet donors with A Rh (A-) and AB Rh negative (AB-) blood groups.
Donations are vital to ensuring patients always get the treatment they need and some rare blood groups are more prevalent among Black, Asian and Ethnic Minority donors.
Anil Mathew, area manager for Surrey and West Sussex, NHS Blood and Transplant said: “Our loyal donors are very important to us and we want to ensure that every time they attend Tooting Donor Centre they have a great donation experience. We also want to do everything we can to attract new donors. In our area, there is a real need for more donors from the Black and Ethnic Minority community and we would like to encourage anyone considering blood donation to book an appointment and help save lives.”
Diane Crawford, 44, has sickle cell anaemia, which leaves her dependent on regular blood transfusions and owing her life to the generosity of blood donors. Sixteen years ago, Diane required 19 pints of blood during pregnancy which saved the life of both her and her now teenage daughter, Chi.
Diane said: “I'd like to thank all those who have donated blood. If blood had not been available when I needed it, both my daughter and I may not be here today. I would specifically call on members of the local black community, who have the ability to help people like me live a somewhat normal life. To those who might be thinking of donating I would say this – it really does make a difference between another person’s life and death.”
Mike Stredder, director of blood donation at NHS Blood and Transplant, said: “We are very grateful for the generosity of our loyal donors and hope the new facilities at the centre will make a big difference to all the people who give up their time to donate blood and help save lives.”
In general, as long as you are fit and healthy, weigh over 7 stone 12 lbs (50kg) and are aged between 17 and 66 (up to 70 if you have given blood before) you should be able to give blood. If you are over 70, you need to have given blood in the last two years to continue donating.
To find out more or to book an appointment visit www.blood.co.uk or call 0300 123 23 23.