On Friday 11th March 2016, the Deputy Health Minister for Wales, Vaughan Gething officially opened the Welsh Blood Services’ new regional base in Wrexham.
At the official opening, a number of young people had the opportunity to talk with the Minister about their perceptions, views and barriers to giving blood. Young people are the donors of the future!
This is set to be an exciting year for the Welsh Blood Service. The service currently covers South, Mid and West Wales, but from May 2016, the lifesaving service will be taking over the responsibility of collecting blood in North Wales from NHS Blood and Transplant. This means that the Welsh Blood Service will cover the whole of Wales for the first ever time.
The Welsh Blood Service will be responsible for collecting blood and blood components from generous donors throughout Wales and processing, testing, and storage before distributing to nineteen hospitals throughout the country. Every donor who donates in Wales will be primarily supporting the patients of Welsh hospitals.
The service is extremely grateful to the people who already give blood, but it is vital to remind others of the need for new donors. There is a steady decline in the number of new donors coming forward, coupled with the ongoing loss of donors who are unable to donate anymore.
The Deputy Health Minister for Wales, Vaughan Gething said:
“Ensuring blood and blood products is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week is absolutely crucial in ensuring our NHS can save people’s lives. The Blood service must, therefore, be at the heart of our health service.
“The Welsh Blood Service has an enviable reputation for providing services which are safe, reliable and efficient. The creation of an all-Wales service will ensure a high-quality service that is sustainable, value for money that serves the needs of people across the country. It also fits with our national aspirations for the NHS.”
Cath O’Brien, Director of the Welsh Blood Service added: “We are extremely proud to be expanding our life saving organisation across the whole of Wales. The service values our donors’ dedication and incredible generosity; donors are a life-line to patients in Wales.”
“To continue to build resilience with an active donor base, young people are essential; they are the donors of the future. The vast majority of young people have a strong sense of social responsibility. It is vital to make people of the younger generation realise how much they are needed and motivate them to start a journey of giving blood on a regular basis and to continue to donate throughout their healthy adult life!”
“New donors will help ensure that the Welsh Blood Service continue to provide blood to people in Wales whenever they need it.”
The Service has a young donor programme and is looking to increase the number of blood donation sessions hosted at Universities, Colleges or High Schools. Students are inclined to donate when a blood donation clinic is within a familiar environment and donating with peers builds a sense of pride. Also seeing groups of peers giving blood encourages others to come forward and join a life saving team.