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Tuesday, 13 June, 2000, 12:22 GMT 13:22 UK
'Give blood before you go'
Blood
The SNBTS wants to see full stocks over the summer
An urgent appeal is being made for people in Scotland to donate blood to avoid a shortage of stocks over the summer.

Last year supplies fell so low over the holiday period that some hospitals were nearly forced to postpone some surgery.

In an effort to avoid a repeat of those problems, a high-profile advertising campaign is being launched by the Scottish National Blood Transfusion Service.

A bllod donor
Officials want to see more people do this
The service said recent research suggested donors were proud of the plaster they receive after giving blood, seeing it as a "badge of honour".

The campaign cashes in on that by encouraging people to show the white bits under the plaster against a summer tan.

Moira Carter, national donor services manager, said: "The summer often sees a drop in donations with people away on holiday, watching events such as Euro 2000 or simply attending parents' evenings.

"Last year in August we, reluctantly, had to go to an emergency appeal because blood stocks had fallen to such a low level.

"We want to avoid that this year. Prevention is better than cure so our message to people is 'please come and give blood now.'"

At the launch of the summer campaign the SNBTS revealed the following figures:

  • Only 5% of Scots give blood

  • Hospital demand for blood is growing - every day the SNBTS needs to collect 1,000 donations

  • Blood cannot be stockpiled - its short shelf life means stocks need to be replenished daily

  • Blood is on standby for many operations - a liver transplant can require 100 donations, a heart by-pass may require 12 to 15 and two donations are on standby for every birth

  • There are four main blood groups - O, A, B and AB. Over 50% of the population belongs to group O, which is in most demand

  • Only 8% of the population are O negative - that group is vital because it is known as the universal donor group and in an emergency O negative blood can be used to treat any patient.

To help ensure constant supplies the SNBTS has teamed up with travel agent Thomas Cook to remind people to donate before they go on holiday.

New donor registration cards will be distributed through the travel firm's shops.

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See also:

16 Mar 00 | Health
Workplace blood donor push
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