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Fall in new blood donors - but current donors are turned away

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Last month, during national blood week, NHS Blood and Transplant revealed that they had 40 per cent fewer new volunteer blood donors. However, it has today been reported in The Guardian that thousands of potential donors were turned away in 2013-14.

Following a freedom of information request, the Blood and Transplant Unit revealed that 1,986 people had complained that they had been turned away from walk-in blood donation sessions and 1,949 people did not have their blood taken even when they had an appointment. This is despite the recent call for 204,000 new blood donation volunteers.

The NHS Blood and Transplant Unit have previously explained that increased travel to tropical climates and the trend for tattoos causes short-term deferrals in the people that are able to give blood. There has also recently been a decline in the demand for blood although it has been acknowledged that this may well be temporary.

Obviously it is difficult for the service to predict how many people wish to give blood on any given day, but it is vital that current donors, committed to this altruistic act, are not put off from giving blood again in the future.

 By Gemma Crompton, clinical negligence trainee solicitor

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