The National Health Service (NHS) is making an urgent appeal to millennials and Generation Z residents of Harrow and across London to donate blood, as new figures reveal that the capital boasts the highest number of young donors in England.
According to data released today by NHS Blood and Transplant, individuals aged 45 and above now constitute the majority of regular blood donors across England, a shift that hasn’t occurred in the last five years. In contrast, London stands out as the sole region where donors under the age of 45 are in the majority.
In London, a staggering two out of every three donors fall into the 17-44 age group, underlining the need for younger residents to continue stepping up to support this critical cause. While this breaks the national trend, the NHS is still calling for more under-35s in the capital to become lifesavers in 2024, stressing that blood is collected and distributed nationally.
NHS Blood and Transplant’s data shows that the proportion of the youngest donors, aged 17-24, has decreased significantly over the past five years, with only half as many young adults now donating compared to the previous period. To counter this trend, the NHS is launching a new campaign aimed at encouraging 17 to 35-year-olds to incorporate blood donation into their routines, much like their fitness regimens.
Steph Ransome, 32, who works in charity and has donated blood since turning 17, noted the ease of giving blood, saying, “I give blood because I can and because it’s needed. Knowing you’ve saved or improved a life is so rewarding… It’s a small commitment that could literally save a life.”
In London, there are five donor centers, including West End, Tooting, Stratford, Shepherd’s Bush, and Edgware, as well as community sessions in various locations, making it convenient for residents to participate.
Dr. Jo Farrar, Chief Executive of NHS Blood and Transplant, noted the importance of younger donors, stating, “Because lifesaving blood only has a short shelf life, we need to constantly collect it and need a steady stream of new donors. For the first time in five years, we have more donors who are aged over 45 than under, so it has never been more important for younger people to become lifesavers by giving blood.”
The proportion of older donors has steadily increased over recent years, with over 408,000 of the 798,000 regular donors being 45 or over. Apart from London, older donors are now in the majority in every region of England.
NHS Blood and Transplant’s Giving Types campaign aims to recruit more donors of Black heritage, as they are more likely to have the blood type urgently needed to treat people with sickle cell, the fastest growing genetic blood disorder in the UK.
To become a blood donor and contribute to saving lives, residents can register and book their first appointment via the GiveBloodNHS app or at www.blood.co.uk. If immediate appointments are unavailable, scheduling for the future is still a valuable contribution to maintaining essential blood supplies.