Virendra Sharma MP urges more South Asian constituents to become blood and organ donors
Local MP Virendra Sharma is teaming up with NHS Blood and Transplant to urge more South Asian people from communities in Ealing, Southall to register as blood and organ donors.
It is essential that we gain more South Asian blood and organ donors. Donors from these communities are more likely to have rare blood and tissue types and South Asian patients are more likely to require these rare types.
Additionally South Asian people are more likely to need a transplant than people from white communities. This is because they are more susceptible to illnesses such as diabetes and certain forms of hepatitis.
Donated kidneys are allocated according to many factors, with blood and tissue type among the most important. Matching is likely to be closer when the ethnicity of the donor and the recipient are closer. Only a small percentage of deceased donors are from South Asian backgrounds so this can delay a suitably matched kidney being found and South Asian people will often wait a year longer for a kidney transplant than people from white backgrounds.
Since 2010/11, 36 South Asian people from Ealing Southall have had lifesaving organ transplants, but there are still 21 South Asian people from Ealing, Southall on the transplant waiting list
People from South Asian communities can also be susceptible to conditions, such as thalassaemia, which leave them requiring regular blood transfusions. Blood from donors with a similar ethnic background can provide the best match and better outcomes in the long term for patients.
Blood is used for a number of other reasons, such as treating blood cancers or replacing blood loss after childbirth. It is important that more people from South Asian communities donate so we can have suitably matched blood available for patients who may urgently need it for any reason.
Local MP Virendra Sharma said “I know that people from Ealing, Southall are generous. When people from South Asian communities find out they may have rare blood and tissue types, I’m sure they will want to do everything they can to help save lives. There are 159 South Asian people in Ealing, Southall who actively donate blood but we need more. I urge people to find out if they can donate blood, and to join the organ donor register. One day it could be someone they love who needs an organ transplant or a unit of blood.”
Ian Trenholm, Chief Executive of NHS Blood and Transplant said “I am very grateful that Virendra Sharma MP is working with us to help save more lives. There are South Asian patients who need rare blood and South Asian patients are waiting longer for transplants. By becoming a blood donor, you can save up to three lives every time you donate. By joining the NHS Organ Donor Register and sharing your decision with your families you could save up to nine lives, if you are able to donate after your death.”
Notes to Editors
- NHS Blood and Transplant is a joint England and Wales Special Health Authority. We are responsible for ensuring a safe and efficient supply of blood and associated services to the NHS in England. We are also the organ donation organisation for the UK and are responsible for matching and allocating donated organs.
- We are an essential part of the NHS and take pride in saving and improving lives by making the most of every voluntary donation, from blood and organs to tissues and stem cells.
- Our work would not be possible without our donors - ordinary people doing extraordinary things by saving and improving the lives of others.
- Our donor line - 0300 123 23 23 - is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week with all calls charged at the standard local rate, even from mobile phones.
- Blood donors can search for sessions, book appointments, change/cancel their appointments and change their contact details in real time at www.blood.co.uk
- NHS Blood and Transplant needs to collect 1.6 million units of blood each year to meet the needs of patients across England. It’s important that we collect the right amount of each blood group at the right time to meet patient needs.
- There are four main blood groups – O, A, B and AB. Group O is the most common and therefore the most in demand. A regular supply of blood is vital – red cells last 35 days and platelets only 7 days.
- The overall demand for blood is falling by 3-4% per year. This is due to improvements in clinical practice and is a trend that is being seen around the world. The drop in demand for blood is also thanks to our work with hospitals to ensure blood is used appropriately for patients.
- We need just under 200,000 new blood donors each year to replace those who no longer donate for reasons such as ill health, pregnancy or foreign travel and to ensure we have the right mix of blood groups to match patient needs in the future.
- It is quick and easy to join the NHS Organ Donor Register. Visit www.organdonation.nhs.uk or contact our 24 hour a day donor line - 0300 123 23 23.
- The register records your decision on whether you want to donate your organs and/or tissue after your death to save and improve the lives of others. It is used by authorised medical staff to establish whether someone has registered an organ donation decision.
- Letting your family know your organ donation decision will make it much easier for them to support what you want.
- Anyone can join the NHS Organ Donor Register, age and medical conditions are not necessarily a barrier to donation.