Blood transfusion staff have appealed for more donors as they face up to a 40 per cent drop in the number of new volunteers compared to a decade ago.
To mark the start of National Blood Week, NHS Blood and Transplant says 204,000 new volunteers need to come forward this year in England and Wales to keep the nation’s blood stocks at a safe level for the future.
In the North East, 17,790 people donated blood at least once last year, saving or improving up to three lives each time they did so.
But the organisation needs new donors to fill the gaps left by existing donors who are not able to give blood and to ensure that it has the right mix of blood groups to match patients’ needs.
Jon Latham, assistant director for donor services and marketing at NHS Blood and Transplant, said: “We simply can’t ignore the fact that there has been a stark reduction in the number of new donors coming forward.
“While we can meet the needs of patients now, it’s important we strengthen the donor base for the future.
“We know that people’s lives have got busier over the last decade.
“People are working longer hours and have less time, but giving blood is an amazing thing to do.
“Pease help us reverse the decline in new donors. It could literally be a matter of life and death for somebody else.”
For more information, to register as a donor or book an appointment, anyone over the age of 17 can visit www.blood.co.uk or call 0300 123 23 23.