Mayor urges minority ethnic Londoners to give blood to help save lives
London, UK – The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has called on Londoners to give blood to help save and improve lives. Approximately 135,000 new donors are needed annually in the UK to meet demand and at least 40,000 new blood donors are needed in London each year over the next five years. Black heritage donors are particularly needed as the number of sickle cell patients in the UK has risen, and this disorder disproportionately impacts people of Black Caribbean and Black African heritage.
The Mayor, joined by NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT) Ambassadors, hosted the first-ever blood drive at City Hall’s new location at the Royal Docks and donated blood to encourage more diverse backgrounds to become donors. However, fewer than 5% of donors in the last year were from Black, Asian, and minority ethnic communities.
Black heritage donors are 10 times more likely to have the rare Ro blood subtype, which is often needed by sickle cell patients. In London, hospitals asked for 58% more Ro blood than they did five years ago, and the situation is particularly critical as London has the highest number of sickle cell patients in the UK. Each month, 1,300 donors of Black heritage are needed to provide life-saving transfusions to sickle cell patients and for use in emergencies, childbirth, surgery, and cancer treatments. NHSBT estimates that at least 16,000 more Black African and Black Caribbean heritage donors are needed each year.
David Rose, Director of Donor Experience at NHS Blood and Transplant, said, “Londoners have the unique opportunity to be part of the solution by becoming donors. Blood donation is amazing and it saves lives.”
Beverley De-Gale, Co-founder of the African Caribbean Leukaemia Trust, added, “Registering to book a blood donation appointment is a simple process which goes onto save thousands of lives.”
Londoners who meet the requirements are encouraged to give blood as the shortage of donors continues to be a concern.