Blood bank levels drop to 20-year low
SCOTLAND'S blood banks are at their lowest level for more than 20 years, it emerged today.
The country is on the verge of a chronic blood shortage after the number of donors dropped to less than 180,000 last year.
The Scottish National Blood Transfusion Service aims to have six days' supply of all blood groups at all times but stocks have fallen below the three-day figure.
Research shows 20% of Scots claim to be blood donors but only 5.12% of the population make regular donations.
Almost anyone aged between 17 and 65 can donate as long as they are in good health, but the SNBTS loses around 50,000 donors a year.
Dr Moira Carter, national donor services manager, said: "Stocks always fall in the build up to Christmas but the difference this year is we have been below our target of six days' supply all year long."
In a bid to boost supplies, the service has stepped up its efforts to encourage donors to give more often with telephone and postcard reminders this month.
Moira Eadie, services manager at Glasgow's donor centre in Nelson Mandela Place, said: "It is getting harder and harder because people are working longer hours.
"Giving blood is in competition for the 'leisure' hour and we are struggling because of the increase in gym membership and cinema going.
"People are more and more likely to go on exotic holidays to countries like Thailand and Mexico, where there is malaria, and they sometimes make the assumption they can't give blood. That is not always true."
To register as a blood donor, call 0845 90 90 999, or visit www.scotblood.co.uk