NHS Blood and Transplant have reissued a New Year appeal during National Blood Week (June 10 to 16) urgently calling for more men to become blood donors at Lancaster donor centre.
New figures show that only 44% of the blood donors currently registered are male. Nationally, the number of male donors has also been dropping worryingly quickly.
NHS Blood and Transplant is now asking men in Lancaster to make an appointment to donate for the first time at the donor centre, which is on the grounds of the Royal Lancaster Infirmary.
Donors of every gender are welcome, and blood types are not gender specific.
However there are two factors which make a strong number of male donors essential for a safe and efficient supply of blood to hospitals.
Men generally have higher iron levels than women, so they are more likely to be able to donate on any given day. Donors with low iron levels cannot donate to protect their own health.
Men also do not make new antibodies, which are part of the body’s defence system, during pregnancy.
That makes it easier to match their blood to patients, and also easier to use their blood in products such as plasma and platelets, which are used for patients with cancer, major blood loss, burns injuries, and more.
NHS Blood and Transplant is currently analysing donor recruitment trends to understand the reasons for the decline and is now working on reaching more male potential donors.
Factors affecting male donor recruitment are thought to include the popularity of social media appeals, which are more popular with women.
Men are more likely to view their first donation as a personal achievement, whereas women are more likely to be motivated by altruism.
Mike Stredder, Director of Blood Donation for NHS Blood and Transplant, said: “We need more new male donors in Lancaster to address the decline in men becoming blood donors. Blood donation saves lives.
“Men are more likely to be able to donate, and able to help more patients with each donation, so we need a new generation of young male donors, to ensure our donor base is strong enough to keep supplying lifesaving blood to hospitals.
“We can assure men that out there that blood donation is an amazing experience that you can feel proud of.
“Giving blood at Lancaster Donor Centre is quick and easy – we aim to have you in and out within an hour but the actual donation itself should only take around 10 minutes. We need men to start their own blood story.”
Donor centres are bright, big modern venues, purpose designed for donation and created close to areas with target population groups. Community venues in the area are more likely to have enough donors already.
•During National Blood Week NHSBT is asking people to share their stories of blood donation and transfusion to stop people taking blood for granted. Whether you’ve given or received blood please share your story for National Blood Week #MyBloodStory #GiveBlood
•Become a blood donor. Register today and book and appointment at blood.co.uk or call 0300 123 23 23 or visit www.blood.co.uk.