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06 December 2016

Scotland unites to boost festive blood donations


The Scottish National Blood Transfusion Service (SNBTS) has joined forces with the Scottish Ambulance Service (SAS) to highlight the importance of giving blood during the festive season, to ensure supplies remain at safe levels.

Paramedic Derek Louttit, who has saved many lives throughout his career, received 40 blood and 30 platelet donations is encouraging others to come forward to donate and become lifesavers.

Dr Moira Carter, Associate Director of Donor Services, SNBTS says: "We have joined with the Scottish Ambulance Service to highlight the need for new blood donors and promote awareness of your blood group.  There are eight different blood groups of which we aim to maintain a six to eight day supply at all times.  Donations can drop by up to 20% during the holiday period, as regular donors are busy with seasonal festivities, so it is especially important that people continue to give blood to support the patients of Scotland throughout December."

Derek, 48, who works for the Scottish Ambulance Service, is helping to highlight the importance of giving blood. Derek said, "Having been a paramedic for many years, I have always been fully aware of how vital blood is. Yet in 2013, after being diagnosed with acute myloid leukaemia, I became dependent upon blood donors myself.

"As part of my treatment, I received 40 red cell transfusions and 30 platelet transfusions.  This means at least 70 people have saved my life. I am so very grateful to every single one of them. I would like to ask everyone over the age of 17 to give blood in the coming weeks. Please help ensure other patients like me can enjoy an amazing Christmas with their families."

Donations can drop by up to 20% during the holiday period Dr Moira Carter

Over the next few weeks SNBTS will face certain blood group challenges. For example, O Negative is the only blood group that can be given to anyone in an emergency however only 9% of people in Scotland have this universal blood group. Therefore we are asking O Negative blood donors to make an extra special effort to donate this Christmas. SNBTS believe that it is increasingly important that both existing and new blood donors know their blood group as not every donor can help every patient. We value all of Scotland’s blood donors, but sometimes we may need particular blood types more than others. By knowing your type, you may be able to help at a time when patients in Scotland need you most. 

Pauline Howie, OBE, Chief Executive of the Scottish Ambulance Service, says, "Many of our patients need blood so we are proud to raise awareness of this important cause. Certain ambulances now carry O Negative blood, to administer in emergency situations, so we urge the people of Scotland to give blood during the coming weeks. All blood groups are important, but O Negative can provide us with valuable time to assist people in emergency situations. If you do have this universal blood group, please contact SNBTS today.”

Dr Carter continued, saying: "Bloodstocks are updated daily on our website  By knowing your blood group, and checking bloodstocks during the festive period, you can help make sure blood is available for patients when they need you most. If we write to you, please ensure you make an extra special effort to give blood."

  • To sign up as a blood donor, call us on 0345 90 90 999 or fill out our online form.

Current blood stock levels across Scotland

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