Southport Reporter. Edition No. 67. Date:- 27 September 2002

The National Blood Service. Article by Stacy McGahan.

I recently discovered that out of 100% of the population ONLY 6% give blood. This means that out of a hundred people 94 of you are relying on 6 strangers. If this continues then the blood supplies will run out. We ALL need blood. Not only does it keep us alive. It is used in numerous operations, including life saving transfusions; also it can be used to save the lives of the hundreds of babies born each year with Jaundice or Hepatitis C. The National Blood Service is doing what hey can to change this situation. But it isn't an easy task. Providing blood to every hospital in England and North Whales. 

The National Blood Service is not to be confused with the NHS although it is an integral part of the it. They guarantee to deliver blood, blood components, blood products and tissues to every hospital in England and North Wales. The National Blood Service also ensures that the blood they supply is properly screened and is safe for patients. Every year they collect, test, process, store and issue 2.5 million blood donations. But they depend entirely on donations from the public. The National Blood Service also has a number of other functions. Such as continually carrying out new research into improving the safety of blood. And new ways it can be used to help save more lives. The National Blood Service also provides specialist medical advice and clinical support to hospitals, as well as educating and training transfusion machine specialists. It's a huge undertaking. But they're dedicated to keeping Britain's blood supply moving.

There are many different blood types. Blood group A has A antigens covering the red cells. Blood group B has B antigens, while group O has neither, and group AB has some of both. Blood also contains lots of little antibodies in the plasma, antibodies being the body's natural defense against foreign antigens. Blood group A has anti-B in their plasma, blood group B has anti-A. To complicate matters though, group AB has none and group O has both of the antibodies. Giving someone blood from the wrong group could be fatal. The anti-A antibodies in group B attack group A cells and vice versa. Which is why group A blood must never be given to a group B person. BUT group O negative is a different story. As only 7% of the UK population has this particular group coursing through their veins, it means that O negative is an especially important blood type. Mainly because it can be given to anyone, regardless of what blood group they have. If patient gets wheeled into casualty and needs a transfusion right away. They would be given O negative, if his blood group is unknown. O negative is also vitally important for specialized procedures, like giving an unborn baby with a blood disease a transfusion in the womb. It helps to prevent brain damage in a newborn baby suffering from jaundice. And it's the blood used most frequently for patients receiving bone marrow transplants. So although it might be called negative, this particular blood group is anything but.

There are many ways to help the NBS. Giving blood is only one of them. For those of us out there who are squeamish of needles, carrying a donor card is free painless way of giving something back. And for those who want to help further you can become a Bone Marrow or Tissue donor. There factors to be considered in any kind of donation. But essentially if you're between your 17th and 70th birthdays or up to your 60th if you're a new donor you can donate, provided you weigh at least 7st 12lbs (50kg). Although there are still some grey areas. For example:- Acupuncture.
If you are receiving acupuncture from an NHS hospital or a registered acupuncturist. Then depending on what your receiving it for, you would be eligible. Plus you should be used to needles by now. Anyone who has had ANYTHING pierced need only wait a year before they can donate. If you have had a blood transfusion. You can still donate once a year has passed. Most people who visit countries where you can catch malaria must wait for 12 months before giving blood. Those who've had the disease, or an undiagnosed illness associated with travel, will not however not be able to give blood.
Bone marrow is becoming a concern for the national blood service. They are trying to get regular donors to register. Bone marrow is the soft, jelly-like tissue that is found in the hollow centers of certain bones. It's where 'stem cells' are found in which blood is made. The red cells - which carry oxygen; the white cells - which fight infection, and the platelets - which stop bleeding. Are made and released into the blood stream via the veins and thin tissue surrounding the bone. Without the stem cells to produce blood the patient will not survive. If an appropriate donor can't be found within the patient's family, the British Bone Marrow Registry tries to find another suitable donor. And this is the reason they really need people who are prepared to help. It is genes that determine your tissue type. Some tissue types are more common than others. Therefore, in addition to matching a donor and patient's tissue type it's also important to match the ethnic background. By doing this, the transplant has a better chance of being successful.

So please give life a chance and help in anyway you can. Imagine that it is you or your children's lives depending on the blood donated by the people such as you. There are many ways to get in contact with the NBS. Either by Phone on 08457711711. Check out their Website for more information. With details of how to contact them
For information on the British bone marrow assoc click on and for other useful information try these web sites:-

British Association for Tissue Banking (BATB)

United Kingdom Transplant (UKT)
UK Transplant Co-coordinator Association (UKTCA)
SOUTHPORT AINSDALE Address:- HALL, ST. JOHN'S PARISH, CENTRE, LIVERPOOL ROAD, AINSDALE, PR8 3PB on Friday, December 27, 2002 14:00 to 16:00 and 17:30 to 19:30.

FORMBY Address:- MAIN HALL, HOLY TRINITY PARISH HALL, ROSEMARY LANE, FORMBY, MERSEYSIDE. L37 3HA on Saturday, September 28, 2002 10:00 to 12:00 and 14:00 to 16:15 an Friday, October 18, 2002 14:00 to 16:00 and 17:30 to 19:30 also on Friday, December 20, 2002 14:00 to 16:00 and 17:30 to 19:30.

ORMSKIRK Address:- HALL,THE CIVIC HALL, SOUTHPORT ROAD, ORMSKIRK. L39 1LN on Thursday, September 26, 2002 14:00 to 16:00 and 17:30 to 19:30 and Thursday, November 14, 2002 14:00 to 16:00 and 17:30 to 19:30 and Monday, December 23, 2002 14:00 to 16:00 and 17:30 to 19:30.

BURSCOUGH Address:- MAIN HALL ROYAL BRITISH LEGION, LORD STREET, BURSCOUGH.L40 4BZ on Tuesday, December 3, 2002 10:00 to 12:00 and 14:00 to 16:15 also Wednesday, December 4, 2002 14:00 to 16:00 and 17:30 to 19:30.

ORMSKIRK Address:- CENTRE,THE COMMUNITY CENTRE, CHAPEL STREET L39 4QF on Thursday, December 19, 2002 14:00 to 16:00 and 17:30 to 19:30.

Southport Reporter is Trade Mark of Patrick Trollope. Copyright Patrick Trollope 2002.

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