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  • Writer's pictureHealthwatch Wokingham

Urgent call for blood donations; levels critically low

NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT) has declared its first ever amber alert as supplies drop to a critically low level. Read how you can help by giving lifesaving blood to patients in need, particularly if you are O Positive or O Negative.



How to book an appointment to give blood locally Each donation that you make can save or improve up to three lives. Phone: 0300 123 23 23 Book online via the NHS Blood and Transplant website Book an appointment or register via the Give Blood App Please note that it may take a little longer to book an appointment or to register to give blood due to the increased numbers of people stepping up to help with this emergency.

Local blood donation venues When booking your appointment online, over the phone or via the app, you will have a choice of venues to visit to give blood. These include:

  • Finchampstead Baptist Church Centre, Gorse Ride North, Finchampstead, RG40 4ES

  • St Pauls Parish Rooms, Reading Road, Wokingham, RG41 1EH

  • Jennett's Park Community Centre, 1 Tawny Owl Square, RG12 8EB

  • The Loddon Hall, Loddon Hall Road, Twyford, RG10 9JA

  • Winnersh Community Centre, New Road, Sindlesham, RG41 5DU

You can also donate blood at venues across Reading and Bracknell Forest. For more information about giving blood and local venues, click here.

NHS Blood and Transplant has triggered an “amber alert” – which came into force today - meaning hospitals have been asked to put in place management plans to protect blood stocks.

This could mean postponing some non-urgent elective surgeries to ensure blood is prioritised for patients who need it most. NHSBT is urging donors to help by filling empty appointments at permanent donor centres in towns and cities which have extended hours and greater capacity. O blood groups are in particular need.

Decisions will be taken by individual hospitals but the types of surgery that could be postponed are non-urgent such as hip replacements which make up around one per cent of all surgery.

These could be swapped for other surgeries such as hernia repairs, gall-bladder removal and eye surgery which do not require blood to be on standby.

Hospitals will continue to carry out any urgent, emergency or trauma surgery, cancer surgery, transplant surgery and blood transfusions to treat people with long term conditions.

The amber alert will last initially for four weeks which should enable blood stocks to be rebuilt. NHS Blood and Transplant aims to hold above six days of blood stocks, however levels are currently predicted to fall below two days which is the threshold for an amber alert.

Wendy Clark, Interim Chief Executive of NHS Blood and Transplant said:

“Asking hospitals to limit their use of blood is not a step we take lightly. This is a vital measure to protect patients who need blood the most. Patients are our focus. I sincerely apologise to those patients who may see their surgery postponed because of this. “With the support of hospitals and the measures we are taking to scale up collection capacity, we hope to be able to build stocks back to a more sustainable footing. “We cannot do this without our amazing donors. If you are O Positive or O Negative in particular, please make an appointment to give blood as soon as you can. If you already have an appointment, please keep it.”
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