Hospitals up and down the country are urgently appealing for blood donors from Burton and South Derbyshire to come forward after last week's harsh weather has left supplies short.

The heavy snowfall and icy conditions in the area towards the end of the last week meant that many donation sessions had to be called off, leaving the NHS short of the required 6,000 units of blood each day nationally.

Now officials are calling for people to make donations, particularly those in the A, O and B positive blood groups.

People in Derbyshire are being urged to donate blood in 2018

Mike Stredder, NHS blood and transplant director of blood donation, said that donors can save lives by acting now.

He said: "The recent poor weather caused the cancellation of sessions in snow-hit areas and meant we collected less blood than we needed, particularly group A, O and B positive donations.

"Seriously ill patients need blood every day and they rely on the generosity of people making time to donate.

"So, we are appealing for existing donors to check the weather before they travel but, if it's safe for them to get out, we need them to come along to a session and donate if they are able.

"If not then please book an appointment for the near future to ensure we keep up the momentum and collect enough blood to meet the needs of patients. Please take action now and walk in and donate - you will save lives."

NHS officials are also asking platelet donors who have booked appointments to do everything they can to still attend, particularly those in the A positive or A negative blood groups.

NHS officials are urging for people to donate blood
NHS officials are urging for people to donate blood

Platelets only have a shelf life of five days and bosses say it is vital that stocks are replenished on a daily basis across the country to meet the demand from hospitals.

Any platelet donors who don't have an appointment are being urged to donate at a fixed donor site, which are in Nottingham and Birmingham.

Donating blood and platelets saves lives and takes just ten minutes to do, he said.

Blood transfusions can be used to help people in medical emergencies who could die if they don't receive blood to replace what they have lost. This could be people who have been involved in serious car accidents or who have had complications during childbirth.

They are also commonly used to treat patients with cancer or blood disorders.

Timothy Bryant, 57, from Stretton, donates on a regular basis and has been doing it since he was a teenager.

Severe weather last week has left hospitals short of blood supplies
A, O and B positive blood in particular is needed

He said: "It's so important to give blood.

"I recently attended a session in Nottingham and I later received a text to say that my blood was being used to help patients at a hospital in Rotherham.

"It's brilliant to think that giving up a bit of my time was helping others.

"I'm now in my 50s, but I have been giving blood since I was a teenager. It's so easy and the staff are always really helpful.

"I'd recommend doing it to anyone."

For more information on giving blood, call the Donor Line on 0300 123 23 23 or visit

Where can you donate?

Registering to give blood is easy and can all be done online in a matter of clicks and appointments can booked by visiting

The following venues are holding blood donations sessions soon:

  • The Pingle Academy, Swadlincote;
  • The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, Burton;
  • Barton-under-Needwood Village Hall, Barton;
  • Gresley Old Hall Community Centre, Church Gresley.

What are blood donations used for?

It can be easy for people to shrug off the thought of giving blood, not knowing the amazing impact that a donation can have.

More than 6,000 blood donations are needed every day to treat patients across England, and 200,000 new donors are needed every year to keep up current stocks.

Blood is usually separated into individual components or parts, so a patient can be given the particular component they need. This makes the most out of every donation, meaning one donation can be used to treat up to three different patients.

Donated blood is used in a number of different ways:

  • 67 per cent is used to treat medical conditions including anaemia, cancer and blood disorders.
  • 27 per cent is used in surgery, including cardiac and emergency surgery.
  • Six per cent is used to treat mothers after childbirth.

Blood transfusions can also be used to improve the lives of those who illness has no cure.

Karen Clarke, a community nurse who gives transfusions to terminally ill people, said: "These vital transfusions give patients a better quality of life and the energy and ability to enjoy this precious, final time with their loved ones."

Who can donate?

Most people can give blood, although there can be some reasons why some people may not be able to give blood.

You can give blood if you:

  • are fit and healthy;
  • weigh between seven stone 12 pounds and 25 stone;
  • are aged between 17 or 66;
  • are over 70 and have given blood in the last two years.

Men can give blood every 12 weeks and women can do so every 16 weeks.

The most common reasons why people might not be able to give blood could be if they are receiving medical or hospital treatment, taking certain medications or have recently travelled outside of the UK. People who have recently had a tattoo or piercing are also unable to donate, as are people who have received blood, blood products or organs.

This is purely to keep the people who need blood transfusions safe from potential diseases that the blood could be carrying, such as HIV.

Many people who are told they cannot donate at one time may be able to donate in the future so it is worth continuing to check with local donation centres.

Donating for the first time

Donating blood for the first time can be a scary experience, regardless of how brave you may seem on the outside.

The thought of sitting in a chair while a pint of blood is pouring out of your body is enough to make anyone queasy, but what we don't think about is how vital this blood is for people with life-threatening illnesses or those in emergency situations.

Last year, as part of National Blood Week, I headed down to Hood Park Leisure Centre in Ashby to give blood for the first time and was surprised to see so many other people waiting there to give blood, just like me.

Giving blood takes about 10 minutes

After signing in, I had a quick health check to ensure my donation would not affect my wellbeing. All came back looking good, so I was ready to go.

I was taken over to my seat and a nurse explained everything I needed to know about donating blood before checking my blood pressure and inserting the needle.

The process lasts for around 10 minutes and wasn't painful at all and I passed the time watching other people helping to save lives just like me.

The donation was over quickly and I was given water and some crisps to help my body adjust to the loss of blood. I was then on my way, knowing that I had done something amazing.

To think that I might have saved somebody's life, and that somebody who I will never know could be walking around because of my donation is incredible and beats my fear of needles any day.

It’s easy to put something like giving blood low on your priority list, but I left the leisure centre feeling 10ft tall.