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Blood donors asked to support coronavirus changes

Blood donors across Wales are being asked to ‘donate differently’ to maintain healthy blood stocks for the NHS during the Coronavirus pandemic.

In response to the global pandemic, which has put pressure on the blood collections programme across Wales, the Welsh Blood Service is reducing the number of donor collection venues it hosts each week.

Reducing the number of venues it operates will enable the Service to safeguard its collections programme against Covid-19 related venue cancellations and staffing pressures.

Where typically the Service would host one-day donation sessions at around 30 donation venues across Wales per week, the Service will now collect blood on consecutive days from around five regional donation hubs a week.

The regional donation hubs will be in different locations each week, with venues fully adapted for social distancing and thoroughly sanitised before, during and after each session.

Alan Prosser, Director of the Welsh Blood Service, said, “We are asking our amazing blood donors to go the extra mile – literally – to help our NHS at this difficult time.

“Blood stocks are currently good and I am really grateful to our donors who are making essential journeys to give blood.

“Under normal circumstances we organise donation sessions close to where our donors live but these aren’t normal circumstances so we are condensing our collections programme into fewer venues.

“We urge anyone who is eligible and would like to make a lifesaving blood donation to visit our website to find and book an appointment at a regional donation hub near them – even if it isn’t the venue they usually attend.”

Under the new model, existing donors will be notified by SMS or telephone call of all donation sessions taking place within a 15 mile radius of their usual donation venue. The Service is calling on donors to book an appointment at their nearest hub.

Alan Prosser added: “We want every donor to know that travel to a blood donation venue is considered “essential travel” under government guidance. We thank donors in advance for their support at this challenging time.”

Blood stocks in Wales are currently healthy as the reduction in collections activity has matched the reduction in hospital demand for blood. Blood collections in Wales are currently 30% down on usual levels, while there has been a 30% decrease in blood ordered by hospitals.

The Welsh Blood Service says that blood collection sessions are safe. Its staff are trained in infection control and the collection sessions are organised to allow for safe social distancing.