Would-be blood donor numbers surge after Manchester terror attack

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There was a huge surge in the number of people registering to become blood donors in the aftermath of the Manchester terror attack, new figures show.

Across England there was a 119% increase in the number of potential donors following the explosion at Manchester Arena on May 22.

And there was a 1,180% rise in the number of Mancunians signing up to the blood donor register, according to figures obtained by the Press Association.

On average, NHS Blood and Transplant sees around 6,300 people across England join the blood donor register each week - including 73 people from Greater Manchester.

But in the week following the attack which left 22 dead and around 59 injured, 13,916 people signed up across England, including 935 Mancunians.

Meanwhile there was a large increase in the number of people who contacted the donor line on 0300 123 23 23.

On average, the contact centre receives 3,000 phone calls a day, but on the day after the attack it had 17,000.

During the week after the attack hundreds of people were turned away from blood donation sessions in Greater Manchester.

NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT) thanked the public for their interest, but said blood donor sessions are carried out by appointment so officials can ensure that hospitals have the right amounts and types of blood in stock.

It asked people to make blood donations in the weeks and months following a tragic event.

NHSBT said it did not know exactly how many people were turned away from blood donor centres in Greater Manchester in the week following the attack but it estimates around 1,000.

These people were given information on registering to become a new donor if they had not given blood before and those who had were asked to book an appointment in coming weeks.

Ian Trenholm, chief executive of NHS Blood and Transplant, said: "Thank you for thinking of joining the million people who already give blood. These people ensure that there is enough blood on the shelves to support whatever is thrown at us.

"Donated blood is a bit like food. It has a shelf life of just over a month. We also make other life-saving products from blood and some of these last only a few days.

"This is why when there is a tragic event we ask people not to come in all at once, because if everyone comes in at the same time the blood will expire on the same day and much would go unused.

"That is why we ask people to spread their donations over the weeks and months which follow the event, even though that can feel frustrating for some.

"We also want to make sure you have the best experience as a donor. This means we need you to have drunk plenty of water and eaten something before you arrive. We also want to make sure that things are calm and you can be looked after properly.

"We need to make sure we collect the right blood types to meet the needs of patients. We have found that by using appointments we can make sure we always collect the right amount of blood to meet demand from hospitals.

"We spend a lot of time carefully planning donation sessions to make sure we have the right mix of blood on the shelves all of the time.

"Each year we need new donors to replace those who can't donate any more.

"We need blood that reflects our society, which means we need everyone. As our society becomes more diverse we need blood from all communities from all over the country.

"Please register at blood.co.uk, join us, and become one in a million."

:: To find out more about blood donation visit www.blood.co.uk or call 0300 123 23 23.