Welsh Government Press Note: First Minister of Wales gives blood during lockdown

The First Minister of Wales Mark Drakeford gave blood in Cardiff City Hall today, to help keep NHS blood banks well stocked during the coronavirus pandemic.

Having given blood since the age of 17, the First Minister says he hopes everyone fit, healthy and symptom-free, goes onto the Wales Blood Service website to book their own blood donation.

While new regulations have required people across the UK to stay home to save lives, travelling to donate lifesaving blood is essential due to medical need.

Over the past three weeks, the number of people donating blood in Wales has dropped by 30%.

Cardiff City Hall is one of five blood donation hubs open across Wales this week. Welsh Blood Service is asking the public to give blood differently, as they leave their iconic lorries in storage and request donors to book ahead.

Members of staff have personal protective equipment and donors will undergo screening before entering the clinic to ensure they are healthy. All donation hubs adhere to social distancing guidelines, and are sanitised thoroughly before, during and after each session.

First Minister Mark Drakeford said:

“As well as staying at home to save lives during the coronavirus outbreak, eligible people can also save lives and help our NHS by going to the Wales Blood Service website and booking an appointment.

“It’s easy to do – you get a cup of tea and a biscuit as a reward – and your efforts could literally mean life over death for a mum, son, grandma or friend.”

Alan Prosser, Director of the Welsh Blood Service, said:

“We are asking our amazing blood donors to go the extra mile – literally – to help our NHS at this difficult time.

“Thanks to the generosity of our donors taking up to an hour of their time to give blood, like the First Minister has today, our stocks are currently in a good position. Donors have responded positively to the new safety measures in place on sessions and appointment uptake at our local donation hubs has been high.

“To ensure blood stock levels remain healthy we need new and existing donors to keep checking our website for local donation hubs near them and to book an appointment to donate if they are fit and well.” 

To book an appointment go to https://www.welsh-blood.org.uk/

ENDS

 

Notes:

Where typically the Service would host one-day donation sessions at around 30 donation venues across Wales per week, the Service will now collect blood on consecutive days from around five regional donation hubs a week.

For further information call 01443 622189

About the Welsh Blood Service (WBS)

  • WBS supplies blood to 19 hospitals across the whole of Wales.
  • WBS hosts around 1,600 each year across 400 venues in Wales to collect the 100,000 units of blood it needs to supply its hospitals.
  • Anyone aged between 17 and 66, who weighs over 50 kg (7st 12lb) can become a blood donor but there are height and weight restrictions for females under 20 years old.
  • During the covid-19 pandemic, donors aged 70 or over are unable to donate.
  • The blood we collect is not just used for accidents and emergencies – cancer and leukaemia patients need regular transfusions.
  • Blood can’t be stockpiled – its short shelf life means stocks have to be replenished on a daily basis.
  • All blood donations are tested for: HIV (the aids virus); Hepatitis B; Hepatitis C; HTLV (Human T Lymphotropic Virus) and Syphilis.

The regional donation hubs for April are:

Week commencing 13.04.2020

CARDIFF CITY HALL

April 14, 15, 16, 17

NANTGARW

April 14, 15, 16, 17

PEMBROKE TOWN HALL

April 14, 15, 17

LLANDUDNO JUNCTION

April 14, 16

MOLD THEATR CLWYD

April 15, 16. 17

Week commencing 20.04.2020

PONTYPOOL

April 20, 21, 22, 23, 24

NEATH PORT TALBOT

April 20, 21, 22, 23, 24

CARMARTHEN

April 20, 22, 23, 24

WELSHPOOL

April 20, 21, 22, 24

ABERGELE

April 21, 23,

Week commencing 27.04.2020

RHONDDA CYNON TAFF

April 27, 28, 29, 30. May 1

SWANSEA GRAND THEATRE

April 27, 28, 29. May 1

CHIRK

April 27, 28, 29. May 1

LLANTRISANT LEISURE CENTRE

April 27, 28, 29, 30. May 1

HOLYHEAD

April 28, 30