People across Renfrewshire are being reminded to give blood if they can during the lockdown as blood banks face another tough year due to covid restrictions.
Scottish National Blood Transfusion Service (SNBTS) is urging people in the local authority area to make an appointment to give blood to help provide a much-needed boost to blood stocks.
Last year, 3,000 people in Renfrewshire gave blood, benefitting 9,000 patients across Scotland.
Giving blood is classed as essential travel, meaning that new lockdown restrictions imposed by the Scottish Government do not affect anyone’s ability to donate if they are well enough to do so.
Every year, the SNBTS suffers a dip in donors in January, but they fear this year will see numbers drop even lower as people are not aware they are still able to attend appointments.
Edward Ford, head of donor services – west said: “New year is traditionally one the hardest times of year to secure blood donations, but January 2021 is going to be particularly tough.
“We want to reinforce that travelling to give blood is regarded as essential travel by the Scottish Government. It doesn’t matter what tier or region you live in, or where the donation session is being held – you’re not only allowed to travel to donate but strongly encouraged to do so.”
The SNBTS has also lost the use of many blood collection venues which are unable to meet social distancing requirements; and the continued fear of contracting the virus means the service may face challenging times with increased hospital usage but a decrease in donations.
Currently, people in Renfrewshire can travel to the Glasgow Blood Donor Centre in Nelson Mandela Place.
Blood donation drives will also be held in Johnstone and Renfrew later this month, and appointments are currently able to be booked online.
In January 2020, more than 500 people turned out at St Mirin’s church hall to give blood.
Residents from every corner of the town and beyond attended the sessions to give a vital boost to blood banks across the country.
In nine donation sessions in the area last year, 1,354 people donated their pint, which was distributed to 39 blood banks across Scotland.
Mr Ford added: “Right now, there are desperately ill patients across the country who need donors to give blood.
“Hospitals are still full of patients needing blood transfusions – cancer patients, mothers who have had traumatic births, children who have been in accidents, long-term patients with blood disorders.
“These patients have not disappeared because there is a pandemic, and unfortunately the Covid-19 vaccine alone won’t solve their problems. What they need is people to give blood.
“It doesn’t matter if you’re a regular donor, you’ve never given blood before, or you’ve only donated once or twice in the past.
“If you’re fit and healthy and aged 17-65, you’re pretty likely to be eligible.”
In the last 10 years, the demand for blood has reduced due to the continued improvements in transfusion practice and surgical techniques.
However, blood has a very short shelf life of just 35 days and can’t be stockpiled, so every day patients in need of blood rely on donors heading along to events like the ones set to be held across Renfrewshire this month.
As of yesterday, there were only five days worth of blood left for types O- and AB-.
While B- and O+ stock is down to six days. Stock for A+ is down to just four days.
To find out more about blood donation, search for local donation sessions, and make an appointment online log on to scotblood.co.uk