Page last updated at 00:54 GMT, Tuesday, 29 November 2005

Age change for Scots blood donors

Blood bag
The service is concerned about blood supplies during winter

The maximum age at which people can give blood for the first time has been raised from 60 to 66 to protect supplies from a predicted harsh winter.

The Scottish Blood Transfusion Service said it was concerned bad weather could prevent many of its regular donors from making donations.

Blood donations in Scotland usually dip by about 20% over the festive period.

The change to the age restriction will mean donors can keep giving blood until they are 70.

Many donors are naturally reluctant to come out in the cold, dark nights
Dr Moira Carter
SBTS

Dr Moira Carter, national donor services manager, said this year could prove even more problematic.

"Every Christmas we do face problems, but we are particularly concerned in the longer-term this year, with a forecast of the worst winter in living memory," she said.

"In severe weather, there is increased pressure on the service, and many donors are naturally reluctant to come out in the cold, dark nights.

'My life was saved'

"We normally collect, process, test and distribute 1,000 donations every day and we need to maintain this through the entire winter."

Dr Carter added: "Many (people in their) 50s and over can be described as good-hearted, energetic, kind, reliable and responsible - a few of the traits we recognise in our blood donors!

"But whether you are in your 30s, 40s, 50s or now in your 60s, this Christmas Scotland needs you to come forward."

Last Christmas, Deborah Barbour underwent intenstive treatment for acute lymphoblastic leukaemia in Glasgow Royal Infirmary.

The 31-year-old, from Glasgow, said: "Since I was diagnosed with leukaemia in July 2004 my entire life has changed.

First-time donor

"I stayed in hospital for over six months and have been completely dependant at certain times on blood and blood products donated by people in Scotland.

"My life has been saved by the goodwill of donors."

Ms Barbour's father Gordon, 60, said he would be giving blood for the first time.

He added: "During my daughter's treatment, I watched her receive blood and saw how it saved her life.

"I was ashamed never to have donated before, and am delighted this new legislation means I can now give blood until the age of 70."

People interested in donating blood should telephone 0845 90 90 999.



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See why there is a constant need for donations



SEE ALSO
Blood service privatisation fears
19 Nov 05 |  Scotland
Festive appeal for blood donors
30 Nov 04 |  Scotland
Blood donor shortage worsens
07 Jun 04 |  Scotland

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