In a drive to save more lives through blood and organ donation, Bristol City Council and NHS Blood and Transplant have formed a partnership to encourage Bristol residents to register as blood and organ donors.
At a special ceremony on 4 June, the Lord Mayor of Bristol, Councillor Faruk Choudray and Zeeshan Asghar, Partnership Development Manager from NHS Blood and Transplant, signed an agreement which will see the council encourage other partners in the city to promote blood and organ donation on an ongoing basis.
The new partnership follows the success of Lord Mayor, Councillor Faruk Choudhury's campaign started in September last year which encouraged more people, particularly from black, Asian and minority ethnic communities, to sign up as blood and organ donors.
There are currently 10,000 people in the UK in need of an organ transplant and three people will die each day because there are not enough donors. During 2012/13, more than 1,200 people donated their organs after death, but just 56 of those were from black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) communities. There are almost 371,000 people living in a Bristol postcode area signed up to the NHS Organ Donor Register.
These communities are currently vastly under-represented when it comes to blood and organ donation, yet some blood disorders are more common in people from BAME backgrounds which mean patients will often need matched blood from people in their own community. As there are so few BAME organ donors, patients from these communities often have to wait longer for a transplant.
Currently 4 per cent of the eligible population across England and North Wales regularly donate blood. And of these, less than 4 per cent are from a black, Asian or minority ethnic background. There are currently 14,491 Bristol residents who give blood regularly.
While the overall need for blood within the NHS has been reducing, thanks to improvements in clinical practice and NHS Blood and Transplant's work with hospitals, there is still a need for more than 7,000 people to attend a blood donation session every day. Voluntary donors enable them to collect the amount of blood hospitals across England and North Wales need to treat patients with a range of health issues from cancer, thalassaemia and sickle cell anaemia, to those involved in accidents or suffering blood loss in childbirth.
Councillor Faruk Choudhury said:
"I am delighted to see that the work started through my campaign to inspire Bristol's residents to be lifesavers by registering as blood and organ donors will continue. Every day, people die because they do not receive the organ transplants they need. Patients in hospital also rely on a regular supply of blood to make sure they get the right treatment at the right time. So I would appeal to anyone who wants to donate not to let another day go by. Whatever your background, please take action and sign up to become a blood donor and join the NHS Organ Donor Register today."
Zeeshan Asghar from NHS Blood and Transplant said:
"We are delighted to be launching this important collaboration with such a major and leading local authority. As a trusted source of information at the heart of its community, Bristol City Council will help us to encourage people from all backgrounds to join the Organ Donor Register, talk to their families about organ donation and become regular blood donors."
To find out more about organ donation and sign up as a donor or call 0300 123 23 23.You can also register when you are: