The UK Needs More Black People To Donate Blood


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If you’re black, you’re exactly who the NHS needs right now. And if you’re young too, consider yourself more in demand than an Uber in Shoreditch on a Friday night.

In the last three years, 29% more black people have given blood and a new generation of young black Britons are regularly donating. But the NHS needs 40,000 more black donors in the next three years to help treat patients suffering from Sickle Cell and more.

We hope you’ll never find yourself in this position, but the truth of it is, if you are ever in need of lifesaving treatment, you’ll need blood from a donor who has a similar heritage to you. The dream scenario is that the hospital you’re in has the blood that suits you best – the closest possible match means you’ll get the best treatment you can.

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If you’re of black origin, you’re ten times more likely to have the ‘Ro’ blood subtype than a white person. And ‘Ro’ is what’s most needed to help the 15,000 people in the UK suffering with Sickle Cell – a disease much more common in those with African and Caribbean backgrounds.

Cherry Brown, from NHS Blood and Transplant, said:

Patients often need ‘Ro’ blood just to stay alive.

Demand has never been higher. There’s been an 80% increase in the amount of ‘Ro’ blood requested by hospitals in the last three years.

Illegal Blood BankShutterstock

While more and more black people are donating blood, Cherry says there is some hesitancy, explaining:

We’ve found there’s a lack of awareness of the need for donations and higher levels of concern about the process.

From our research, we’ve found black people are more likely to be concerned about the perceived health impact of donating blood and less likely to feel engaged by healthcare organisations.

But things are moving in the right direction. In the last three years, 29% more black people have given blood and a new generation of young black Britons are regularly donating. Which is good, because young is what the NHS needs to stop the numbers of donors dwindling.

Illegal Blood BankGeorge Pavlou

Cherry concluded:

Most of our donors are over 45.

So we especially need young donors to secure the future of the donor base.

If you start donating you’ll be part of a new generation saving lives– every blood donation can potentially save three.

To become part of the next generation of lifesavers, register online as a blood donor.

There are loads of places to choose from to give blood, go online to find an appointment near your postcode.

Help us end blood donation discrimination and support our campaign to overturn the outdated law that prevents gay & bi men from donating blood. 

To find out more about The Illegal Blood Bank, click here

Topics: Blood Without Bias, blood donation, NHS, UK

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