The National Blood Service
The NBS are an integral part of the NHS, and they guarantee to deliver blood, blood components, blood products and tissues from our 15 blood centres to anywhere in England and North Wales. South Wales is served by the Welsh Blood Service, which is also part of the NHS but separate from the NBS.
Naturally, they also ensure that the blood we supply is properly screened and is safe for patients. Every year they collect, test, process, store and issue 2.1 million blood donations. They depend entirely on voluntary donations from the general public, and try to encourage our existing donors to give three times a year. (It's amazing what the promise of a free cup of tea and some biscuits will do...)
But they also have a number of other functions. Such as continually carrying out new research into improving the safety of blood. And new ways it can be used to help save more lives.
The NBS also provide specialist medical advice and clinical support to hospitals, as well as educating and training transfusion medicine specialists. It's a huge undertaking. But they're dedicated to keeping Britain's blood supply moving.
The NBS rely on volunteers from the general public to donate their blood in order to help save the life of someone else. Donors have helped save the lives of millions of people, including these. Yet only around 25% of the people who are eligible to give blood do so, and the NBS is constantly trying to get that number higher.
The National Blood Service was set up in 1946 to collect and provide blood supplies for all the hospitals in England and North Wales. 8,000 units of blood are needed every day to meet this demand, which keeps rising. Blood comes in four main types - O, A, B and AB. Group O is the most common which means it's in demand the most. But blood can also be subdivided into its main components - red cells, white cells, platelets and plasma. Unfortunately red cells only last 35 days and platelets are only good for five days.
Can I donate?
If you check out the NBS website here, that will tell you whether you are able to give blood or not. The NBS has strict regulations as to who can and can't give blood, so there's no point in a wasted journey.
How do I register?
You can either visit your local donor session, or if you prefer, you can register your interest by filling in the details on this page.
Where can I donate?
Short answer is you can donate anywhere in England or Wales, so long as it hasn't been less than 14 weeks since your last donation. Alternatively, you can search for your nearest sessions using the National Blood Service website here. If you are in (South) Wales, you should search using the Welsh Blood Service website here.
Frequently Asked Questions
Got a Question?
If you have any further questions, such as what happens in a donor session, or any other questions, then please post them in this thread. Certain information in this article has been taken from the National Blood Service website which can be found at www.blood.co.uk