Northumberland blood donation points: NHS issues amber alert over supplies

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The first-ever amber alert has been issued by the NHS over blood supplies as they fall critically low and hospitals begin to postpone non-urgent operations.

There is usually about six days’ worth of blood available in the country, but this has dropped to around three days.

People with O type blood are being especially urged to donate. O negative blood is the universal blood type which can be given to everyone during emergencies, but worries for all other blood types are rising.

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Hospitals have been told to protect their supplies, meaning non-urgent operations requiring blood could be postponed to ensure they are prioritised for patients who need them most.

Blood stocks have dropped to worryingly low levels.Blood stocks have dropped to worryingly low levels.
Blood stocks have dropped to worryingly low levels.

There is a constant need for donations of all blood types as blood can only be stored for 35 days, but with NHS staff shortages it is proving difficult to allocate the staff needed to take blood from donors.

NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT) said maintaining blood stocks has been a challenge after the pandemic, mainly due to staff shortages and sickness but also because people are less likely to visit collection centres in towns and cities.

The issue will be tackled by moving staff to the front line to open up appointments and through using agency staff.

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The amber alert will last initially for four weeks, which NHSBT claim should enable blood stocks to be rebuilt.

If you are generally fit and healthy, aged between 17 and 65, are a healthy weight, and have suitable veins, you are eligible to help the NHS and donate blood. People who have recently travelled overseas or are pregnant may need to wait.

In Northumberland, there are a number of pop-up donation points, but people MUST REGISTER FIRST. They are also not open every day, and details of how to give blood are issued once a person has registered.

The locations are:

- Morpeth Riverside Leisure Centre

- Blyth Croftway Primary Academy

- Ashington, Hirst Wellfare Centre

- Cramlington, Beacon Hill Community Centre

- Alnwick, Willowburn Sports Centre

- Wooler, Glendale Middle School.

To keep up with demand, Give Blood needs around 400 new donors a day and 30,000 new donors with priority blood types such as O negative every year.

To find a date to donate in one of these locations, visit Give Blood and register.

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