Call to donate blood as normal during coronavirus pandemic

Monmouth MP David Davies was among those who answered a call to donate blood as normal during the coronavirus pandemic.

The Welsh Blood Service set up a regional donating hub at Chepstow Leisure Centre to help collect the 350 units of platelets and vital blood products needed every day to supply Wales’ 19 new field hospitals.

At present, only three per cent of the population donate blood. But with support from the local community, all 776 appointments available in Chepstow were filled with 653 blood donations and an amazing 179 first time donors.

Mr Davies said: “We have all been clapping NHS and key workers on a Thursday but having seen the great work being done by nurses organisations like the fantastic St David’s Hospice Care, I wanted to do a bit more. Giving blood seemed like a good way to literally put something back into the NHS in these unprecedented times.

“I will admit to a few nerves on arrival, but the worst part really is filling in the forms. One small prick and ten minutes later you can tuck into tea and biscuits.

“In under one hour, you could save up to three lives by giving blood.”

Regular places of donation may be unavailable due to coronavirus changes, although blood donation is classed as essential travel. The blood service is unable to take walk-ins at the moment so anyone who is fit, well and eligible to donate is asked to book an appointment through the website.

Alan Prosser, director of the Welsh Blood Service, added: “When it became clear we couldn’t continue with business as usual, we knew we’d have to ask donors to donate differently.

“Our regional donation hubs have replaced our usual local collections programme and the response from donors has been remarkable.

“Blood stocks are currently very healthy thanks to the commitment of new and existing donors, but we need people to keep giving blood to ensure we can continue to meet hospital demand in the coming months.”