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What are platelets?

One of the four main blood components, platelets stop bruising and bleeding. Many of Scotland's patients need platelet transfusions, including cancer and leukaemia patients, premature babies and emergency admissions.

However, platelets can only be stored for seven days, so we're always looking for new donors to keep a steady supply available to Scottish hospitals. If you're interested in becoming a platelet donor, speak to a member of staff at your next blood donation or get in touch online and one of our team will get back to you. You can also read our leaflet Giving platelets for more information.

Who can give platelets?

Please consider giving platelets if you are:

  • Male (also female in Edinburgh and Aberdeen)*
  • An existing blood donor (you must have given blood at least once before).
  • A and O blood types
  • At least 60kg
  • Able to come to Edinburgh, Glasgow or Aberdeen donor centre every four to six weeks.
  • Willing to spare up to 90 minutes each time you give platelets.

* We will be working to welcome new female platelet donors in Glasgow in Spring 2024. If this is of interest to you, please speak to a member of the team at your next donation. Thank you.

What else do I need to know?

  • Platelet donation is very similar to giving blood. We use specialist equipment to collect platelets from you and the whole process takes no longer than 90 minutes.
  • Our donors give platelets every four to six weeks, which is a substantial time commitment. However, a range of morning, late afternoon and Saturday appointments are available at most centres.
  • Platelets can only be collected using specialist equipment and by our specialist staff, and this is why we can only collect platelets at four of our regional centres. So, if you live or work near Edinburgh, Glasgow or Aberdeen, we would love to hear from you.
  • Platelet donors must meet the health criteria for whole blood donation, as well as some additional criteria - for example, your individual platelet count will determine whether you could be a platelet donor.
  • If you’ve taken aspirin, piroxicam or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (such as ibuprofen) within the 48 hours before your appointment, you won't be eligible to donate, as these drugs make your platelets less effective.

How platelets save lives.

Skye with mum, Gemma

As a newborn baby, Skye Edwards needed platelets as part of her treatment for a mystery illness. Mum Gemma, said:

"Within 24 hours of being born she went really downhill; we were told everything was going wrong. Her platelet level was only seven when it should normally be between 150 and 450, and with anything below 20 there's a danger of bleeding out."

Now, after a total of five platelet transfusions and two blood transfusions, Skye’s bone marrow is working as it should be.

"We get to see her grow up, sit, walk, talk, go to school. All of this is possible because someone in Scotland is selfless enough to give up their time for some stranger out there."

I've read all this, and I'm more interested than ever. Who do I contact?

Speak to a member of staff at your next blood donation, who will be happy to chat you through the next steps. Alternatively, get in touch online, or call us on 0345 90 90 999.

Current blood stock levels across Scotland Saturday 13 July

We aim to retain 6 days of stocks at any time in order to meet the requirements of patients in Scotland.

Learn more about blood types