World Blood Donor Day 2023: Glasgow venue at centre of new Scotland-wide blood donation drive
A Glasgow venue has featured in a new TV campaign to get more people in Scotland to donate blood this World Blood Donor Day.
The campaign titled ‘People Like You’ was created by Scottish National Blood Transfusion Service (SNBTS) to showcase that anyone can be a blood donor and was launched as part of the organisation’s wider efforts to increase blood stock levels, after it found numbers of donors across the country reached “record low” levels last year.
Debbie McNaughton, SNBTS Associate Director, Donor Services and Transport describes the last few years as “challenging” for NHS Scotland and SNBTS’ management of blood supply.
She said: “We have seen demand for blood rise – it’s currently higher than pre-Covid levels – and it’s essential blood is always there when patients need it.
“We are grateful that during the past 12 months, our number of active donors has increased by 3 per cent.
“However, we do need to welcome more new donors, and for this year’s World Blood Donor Day we’re celebrating these amazing people who have helped NHS Scotland recover from the pandemic and also encourage new donors to donate.”
Using their Glasgow donation centre, located at Nelson Mandela Place in the heart of the city, as their shooting location, the SNBTS clip features some of the local venue’s staff and donors.
Watch the full video below:
What is World Blood Donor Day?
World Blood Donor Day is celebrated worldwide on June 14 every year to celebrate blood donors across the globe and highlight how blood donation can help save lives.
June 14 was chosen for the annual event, as the date also marks the anniversary of Karl Landsteiner’s birthday – the man cited as the ‘forefather of blood transfusion’’ by many.
In 1907, it was the physician’s work identifying the four main blood groups – O, A, B and AB – that saw the first successful blood transfusion happen that year; an achievement which garnered Landsteiner a Nobel Prize in 1930.
The theme of this year’s World Blood Donor Day is ‘Give blood, give plasma, share life, share often.’
First Minister Humza Yousaf too praised the importance of the day in Parliament last week, before meeting with representatives from SNBTS.
He said: “The Government has a proud track record of extending and increasing the eligibility of those who can give blood—something that I, personally, am very proud of and that we should all be proud of, as a Parliament and as a country.
“Anything that we can do collectively to raise and promote awareness is exceptionally important.
Many of us—most of us, I suspect—in the Parliament have given blood at some point or other. This is a good opportunity to remind ourselves that we should continue that very good habit.”
Why do we need you to give blood?
Blood donations are used in multiple ways, such as treating patients with medical conditions, such as anaemia, cancer and blood disorders, given to those having surgery, as well as emergencies, when someone is experiencing blood loss.
For those that need it, such as Freya from Giffnock in the video below, receiving a blood transfusion can be lifesaving.
As everybody’s blood group is different, so are the requirements and necessary stock levels.
There are eight major blood types: O-, A-, B-, AB-, O+, A+, B+, AB+. While O, the most common blood group in the UK, can be given to anyone, it could be life threatening for anyone with blood group A to receive B-type blood and vice versa.
To ensure that all people that need blood can get the right match, SNBTS aim to stock six days’ worth of each blood type at all times, for which the organisation says it needs around 3,300 donors a week.
Fiona Shields, Donor Recruitment & Publicity Officer for the service, said: “Hospital demand has risen over the past two years to higher levels than pre-pandemic, reflecting increased activity in Scotland health boards.
“This World Blood Donor Day we would like to thank our amazing blood donors for supporting NHS Scotland’s recovery from the pandemic.
“In Glasgow and the west, we’d like to say a special thank you to the 4,755 new donors who gave blood for the first time over the last 12 months, however, we always need more people like you.”
A call for young people to donate blood:
Young people giving blood is important both to keep encouraging the habit early in life, but also to replace people who may not be able to donate blood safely any longer due to old age, for example. However, that there may be an age gap when it comes to who donates blood is something highlighted in separate studies recently.
Earlier this month, the UN published that, proportionally, young people in high income countries – like the UK – donate blood less than those in low- and middle-income countries.
It is also something that NHS Blood and Transplant, who manage blood donation in England and organ transplants across the UK, looked at five years ago, after their study found that 81 per cent of 18-24 year olds had never donated blood – with over a third (35 per cent) saying they were scared – while almost half the population of blood donors were aged over 45.
The body then ran a dedicated TV campaign with ITV2, to help take away the fears behind blood donation, leading to an increase in donations from the age group. In 2019, almost a third of all donations in England came from 17-34-year-olds.
That is also why one key aim of SNBTS is to get more young people to start giving blood to encourage the habit early and secure future donations; the new promotional video being part of this mission to inspire anyone aged 17 or over.
SNBTS Donor Recruitment & Publicity Officer Fiona added: “Each time you give blood you can save or improve the lives of up to three people.
“If you’ve never given blood or haven’t for a while, we would love to welcome you along to Glasgow Donor Centre, which you can find on Nelson Mandela Place, in the city centre.”
How to donate:
Anyone looking to donate can sign up via the dedicated website: scotblood.co.uk.
In Glasgow, the centre at Nelson Mandela place, is open for appointments all week – including weekends – and SNBTS regularly run pop-up blood donation centres across the Greater and Glasgow Clyde area.
View our interactive map below, to find the centre nearest to you: