Calls for North East blood and plasma donors to reschedule appointments as coronavirus treatment trial begins

Health service chiefs have told North East blood and plasma donors not to worry if appointments are cancelled as part of a national trial of a potential coronavirus treatment.

Wednesday, 6th May 2020, 4:45 pm
Updated Wednesday, 6th May 2020, 5:47 pm

Plasma – a clear, straw-coloured liquid which carries platelets (red and white blood cells) – is the largest single component of blood and can be used in transfusions.

But not everyone is suitable to donate and the process to collect it is more complicated than that for blood, so it is done at selected donation centres nationwide.

The centre for the North East is in Newcastle.

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Plasma donors have been told not to worry if their appointment is cancelled

The trial will investigate whether transfusions of antibody-rich plasma from people who have recovered could help boost the immune systems of people who are still unwell.

NHS Blood and Transplant is beginning to collect ‘convalescent’ plasma from people who have recovered from Covid-19, so some blood and platelet donation appointments in Newcastle are being cancelled and rescheduled to free up slots.

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The blood service says donors should not worry about stocks of blood and plasma and the change will have no impact on supplies.

Since the outbreak, there has been a drop in demand for blood and platelet as hospitals cancel non-urgent surgery such as hip operations, so there is enough capacity to change appointments.

An NHS Blood and Transplant spokesperson said: “We are still collecting blood and platelets in Newcastle so please keep making appointments to donate. Donation saves lives.

“This new trial is part of the national research effort against the coronavirus and we hope people understand if we make any changes to your appointment.

“If your appointment is cancelled until another day it means we have good blood and platelet stocks, and the appointment time can be used for someone to donate plasma to a seriously ill Covid-19 patient.”

“We would encourage any blood and platelet donors who have had their appointment cancelled to re-book an appointment for a future date at by calling 0300 123 23 23, visiting blood.co.uk or using the NHS Give Blood app.”

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