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  • Writer's pictureHealthwatch West Berkshire

NHS Releases Urgent Request for Black Blood Donors

Updated: Apr 6, 2023

The request from the NHS is due to a rise in the need for transfusions, and the NHS says sickle cell is ‘fastest growing genetic condition in UK’ and demand for blood has jumped 67% in five years.

The condition can cause incredibly painful crisis episodes due to the red blood cells forming into sickle or crescent shapes and become stuck in blood vessels. This can cause long term health issues including organ damage and strokes and can be fatal.

1 SCD is inherited from both parents; sickle cell trait is inherited from one parent.

2 SCD can affect anyone, although it predominantly affects people from African and Caribbean backgrounds.

3 Approximately 1 in 79 babies born in the UK carry sickle cell trait.

4 Approximately 15,000 people in the UK have sickle cell disorder.

5 Almost 300 babies are born in the UK with sickle cell each year.

6 A simple blood test will tell whether you have sickle cell trait or the disorder

7 Children with SCD are at increased risk for stroke, the risk is highest between the ages of 2 and 16.

8 Episodes of pain may occur in sickle cell disorder and are generally referred to as a crisis

Patients can be given blood type O negative, which is safe, but long term can cause complications, so the call for people of African or Caribbean heritage to give blood is because 55% of black people have a Ro blood type, which is vital for blood matching. A Senior Biomedical Scientist, Cherrelle Lawrence from National Health Service Blood and Transplant Service (NHSBT), said: "Matched blood is vital for sickle cell patients to reduce the risk of serious complications. People from the same ethnic background are more likely to have matching blood.

"There is a rise in black people donating blood, but we urgently need more to become regular donors. Giving blood is easy, quick and safe - and you will save and improve lives."

All types of blood are needed, so become a blood donor via the GiveBloodNHS app or at, and help save lives.

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