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This Christmas give blood

25 December 2015

Health Care

Natalie Outten, hospital transfusion practitioner at Southend Hospital, is urging people to donate blood this Christmas – a time of year when donations tend to fall.

This drive comes on the back of a successful awareness campaign in November whereby Natalie responded to a rallying cry from both the NHS Blood and Transplant service and the Sickle Cell Society.

Sickle cell disease causes the haemoglobin in sufferers' normally flexible round red blood cells to become sickle shaped. This abnormal shape causes red cells to clump together and get stuck in the blood vessels, restricting blood flow and causing severe pain, serious infections and organ damage.

Sickle cell disease is an inherited, lifelong disorder which affects 15,000 people in Britain. Treatments include medication, blood transfusions and bone marrow transplants.

Natalie said: "Blood is a finite resource and we currently rely on just 4% of the population to donate blood. The stock at the National Blood Service is sometimes only two days' worth for certain blood groups. There is always a need for new donors and for those who have lapsed to start again - it could be the gift that a patient is waiting for.

If you would like to give blood please call the NHS Blood and Transplant service on 0300 123 23 23 or visit the NHS Blood and Transplant website www.blood.co.uk .