Urgent appeal for donors as norovirus hits blood stocks

By Ian Dipple Friday 04 January 2013 Updated: 04/01 11:05

THE RISING number of cases of norovirus have hit blood stocks prompting an urgent appeal for donors with a certain blood type to donate.

Although stocks traditionally dip around the festive period, the earlier than usual outbreak of the winter vomiting and diarrhoea bug has led to a surge in cancelled appointments, in particularly those who are O negative.

Cancellations by donors with that type increased by 50 per cent in the run up to the New Year.

On top of that demand for O negative blood from hospitals has risen, meaning just over three days worth of O negative blood stocks are left.

O negative blood is the most sought after as it is universal and can be given to patients with a different blood group, which can prove vital in an emergency situation when there is not time to test for a specific blood type.

About seven per cent of the population are in the O negative blood group.

Improving blood stocks is crucial to ensure patients undergoing surgery and receiving treatment for cancer and blood diseases such as leukaemia can receive the transfusions they need.

Jon Latham, assistant director of marketing for NHS Blood and Transplant, said: "We would like to urge all O- donors to walk into their most convenient donor session to give blood to help rebuild stock levels.

"Waiting times may vary in the next few days as we try to accommodate all donors.

"Demand for blood never stops and O- donors can help to ensure healthy blood stocks in the upcoming weeks, by giving blood now and in the next few days."

Anyone aged between 17 and 65, weighing more than 50 kg (7 stone 12lbs) is eligible to become a blood donor. There is no upper age limit for donors who have given in the last two years.

Donations sessions take place on Monday (January 14) at The White Hart Inn on Evesham Road in Redditch between 1.30pm and 4pm and 5pm and 7.30pm and on Wednesday (January 16) at Alcester Members Club in St Faiths Road, Alcester between 1.30pm and 3.30pm and 4.30pm and 7.30pm.

Visit 0300 123 23 23 to book an appointment or visit www.blood.co.uk for more information.

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