National Blood Donation Week 12-18 

Monday 12 June marks the beginning of National Blood Donor Week

National Blood Donor Week is a week where we raise awareness of the lifesaving importance of blood donation to encourage those who have never donated to give it a go.

Wednesday 14 June is World Blood Donor Day which was created to:

Raise global awareness of the need for blood and blood products for transfusion, highlight the critical contribution voluntary, unpaid blood donors make to national health services, support national blood transfusion services and reinforce national and local blood donor campaigns.

National Blood Donation Week Mon 12 – Sun 18 June 2023

Every year, NHS Blood and Transplant run a ‘National Blood Donation Week’ campaign (12-18 June 2023) to encourage much needed new donors to register to give blood. During the same week, on 14 June, is the World Health Organisation’s ‘World Blood Donor Day’ with the WHO continuing the work worldwide to build a culture of voluntary blood donation. On World Blood Donor Day, WHO is emphasising the role that every individual can play in preparing for the next unforeseen emergency by giving blood now.

Wednesday 14 June – LGBTQ+ Donors.

Will also see the two-year anniversary since blood donation rules in the UK were changed, meaning that more people from LGBTQ+ communities will be eligible to donate.

The ask is simple: help to spread the word and reach as many people as possible.

The UK National Blood Donation Week and the World Blood Donor Day are a combined annual event which aims to pay tribute to all voluntary blood donors for their valuable gift as well as to raise people’s awareness of the importance of regular blood donations in order to recruit and increase the number of much needed volunteer blood donors, to ensure the vital supply of high-quality blood for use in the NHS healthcare system in the UK and in countries across the world.

Blood provision may be a life-or-death situation:
There is a shortage of blood and donors, and thus it’s vital to raise awareness of blood donation and increase supply in order to save as many lives as possible.

The availability and provision of blood may be a life-or-death situation for individuals who have been involved in an accident and have lost a lot of blood or who need it for medical treatment and operations. Blood donation is a great deed that saves lives. Therefore, the key aim of this annual campaign is to raise awareness of the need for blood and blood products for transfusion and to acknowledge the critical contribution that voluntary, unpaid blood donors make to the National Health Service (NHS) in the UK.

Once again the CWU is supporting NHSBT (National Health Service Blood and Transplant) to raise awareness, and individual CWU members and their families, friends and colleagues are encouraged to step forward as donors. UK National Blood Donation Week 12-18 June 2023 and the World Blood Donor Day 14 June 2023 are described as one of the most critical national campaign weeks and international campaign days commemorated worldwide.

NHSBT also want to focus on encouraging young people, who might be a bit nervous or unsure about giving blood, to feel encouraged to sign up and start donating, so that the donor population doesn’t decline but stays strong, replacing those retiring donors. It’s also to highlight the need to for donations to be regular in order to keep stocks and quality of blood donations high.

Blood donation saves millions of lives annually and helps with the recovery and health of patients who have illnesses, are accident victims (at work, on the roads or at home etc.), have sustained injuries, undergone complex operations or have childbirth problems. Blood stocks are also essential in natural and man-made disasters.

Some blood types are rare, so promoting the need for rare donor types is also part of this event. UK National Blood Donation Week (12-18 June), incorporating the World Blood Donor Day (14 June) are vital in highlighting the need for blood donors and regular donations.

National Blood Donor Week is our annual chance to support the valid cause and campaign! The message to CWU members is – “Blood is precious, and your donations are truly life-saving.” Would Branches and Health and Safety Reps spread the word, encouraging people to sign up as blood donors and start saving lives as well as existing donors to continue their great contribution of donating to help us keep blood stocks healthy.

Why should people donate blood?
Safe blood saves lives and improves health. Blood transfusion is needed for people who lose too much blood through work or road accident injuries, those undergoing major surgery and complex operations, cancer patients, those with certain illnesses that destroy blood cells, women with complications of pregnancy, such as ectopic pregnancies and haemorrhage before, during or after childbirth, children with severe anaemia etc. It is also needed for regular transfusions for people with conditions such as Thalassaemia and Sickle Cell disease and is used to make products such as clotting factors for people with haemophilia.

There is a constant need for regular blood supply because blood can be stored for only a limited time before use. Regular blood donations by a sufficient number of healthy people are needed to ensure that safe blood will be available whenever and wherever it is needed.

Blood is the most precious gift that anyone can give to another person — the gift of life. A decision to donate your blood can save a life, or even several if your blood is separated into its components — red cells, platelets and plasma — which can be used individually for patients with specific conditions.

NHSBT is on a mission to raise awareness of the importance of blood donation and recruit more new donors in order to save and improve lives.

As well as working with partners such as the CWU to boost national noise and conversation around blood donation, in response to patient needs there is a particular focus this year on reaching and engaging black blood donors, who are more likely to have the rare blood types needed to treat diseases like Sickle Cell.

The need for new donors – Biggest ever blood donor recruitment drive launched to help the NHS recover
As the nation emerges from the pandemic which has limited the availability of appointments and seats in blood donor clinics, the NHSBT have been working hard to rebuild blood stocks and need all the help they can get. Now, as life returns to normal, following a period when fewer people were donating regularly, the NHS needs new blood donors to play a crucial role in its recovery. New donors are needed to register and donate blood. Demand for blood is now back at pre-pandemic levels and may increase in the coming months as hospitals continue to catch up on delayed activity.

Blood Type Shortages:
NHSBT report that the NHS needs more O negative, B negative and A negative donors.

NHS Needs More Black Donors:

There is currently high demand for rare blood types that are more common in people of black heritage. The ‘Ro’ blood subtype is particularly important for three reasons:

  • Demand is increasing by 10% – 15% each year.
  • Only 2% of regular blood donors have the ‘Ro’ blood subtype so there’s a gap between the number of donations NHSBT collect and the amount of ‘Ro’ blood subtype hospitals need. ‘Ro’ blood is a rare blood type and there are patients in real need of it. So more blood donors with the ‘Ro’ subtype are needed urgently.
  • To help treat patients with Sickle Cell Disorder.

Donate Plasma:
Plasma is needed to create unique life-saving medicines to help save and transform the lives of over 17,000 people in the UK each year. Give Plasma – save lives!

NHSBT Thanks to CWU:
NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT) have again welcomed the support of the CWU and its members and asked me to convey their thanks for the continued support of our Trade Union.

The CWU Health, Safety & Environment Department will again be fully supporting the week and continuing the work done together in previous years and we hope that Branches, Regional Health and Safety Forums, Health and Safety Reps and all other Branch Officials and CWU Reps can join in and can get involved again to make 2023 a successful year.

For Further Information and Answers to Any Question About Becoming a Blood Donor – Contact NHSBT: