Minister for Health & Social Services, Edwina Hart AM and football star John Hartson helped launch a new drive to recruit more platelet donors in a bid to maintain the supply of platelets to our Welsh hospitals.
Platelets have the shortest shelf life of all blood components, lasting only five days. Regular and frequent platelet donors are needed daily as stocks need to be constantly replenished.
The Welsh Blood Service aims to collect enough platelets for 7,000 transfusions for patients in Wales – about twice as much as we collected five years ago.
Platelet transfusions are used to treat patients with cancer and leukaemia as well as premature babies and people with certain blood disorders.
At the event Edwina Hart AM announced two changes to our current guidelines which will allow more people to become platelet donors.
These changes are:
- Volunteers can now become platelet donors without having previously made a donation of whole blood.
- The minimum age for platelet donors has been reduced from 18 to 17 years old.
Representatives from leading Welsh Cancer Charities also gave their support to our life-saving organisation.