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 five 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.
Who can give platelets?
Platelet donors are:
- Usually male. While we have recruited women in the past, we are currently introducing an additional test for new female platelet donors and therefore not recruiting women at present. This may change in the near future.
- Existing blood donors (you must have given blood at least once before).
- Blood group O or A.
- Able to come to their regional donor centre every four to six weeks.
- Willing to spare up to 90 minutes each time they give platelets.
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 our five regional centres. So, if you live or work near Edinburgh, Glasgow, Aberdeen, Inverness or Dundee, 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 will make a good 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.
- We currently only accepts platelet donations from men aged 60 or under, who meet a strict set of height and weight guidelines.
How platelets save lives.
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 30 17 270.