People with rare blood type urged to donate in Sheffield

People with a rare blood type are being urged to donate in Sheffield, after figures revealed demand for it has increased by over 400 per cent over the last four years.

Saturday, 15th June 2019, 10:45 am
People with the rare blood type, R Kell Negative, are being urged to donate in Sheffield

Demand for the Ro Kell negative blood type has increased by 419 per cent over the last four years, according to new figures from the Sheffield blood stock holding unit.  As a result, people with the rare blood type are being urged to donate in Sheffield. 

A spokesman for the NHS Blood and Transplant service said these ‘types can be found in anyone but black people are ten times more likely to have this rare and valuable combination of blood types’.

Mike Stredder, Director Blood Donation for NHS Blood and Transplant, said: “Ro Kell negative blood is used vitally to treat people who need life-long transfusions to live longer, healthy lives. It is lifesaving.

“Blood donation is quick, easy and safe. We urgently need more Ro Kell negative donors at the Sheffield donor centre to cope with the growing demand – we urge anyone with these blood types to talk to friends and family about donation.”

There are around 212 donors with Ro Kell negative blood at the Sheffield Donor Centre, which is based in Church Street in Sheffield city centre. 

NHSBT aims to recruit 110 more black blood donors to Sheffield Donor Centre over the next year to help boost this number and ensure seriously ill hospital patients get the blood they need.

NHSBT is also launching a special service for donors with this blood group to help retain and recruit donors because of how critical their types have become to patient care. 

Donors will have a dedicated phone number to use. 

Only around 2 per cent of donors have this rare combination of two blood types.

Nationally, there has been a 50 per cent increase in demand for Ro Kell since 2015/16, making it the combination of blood types in the fastest growing demand nationally.

Ro Kell negative blood is especially important for treating the rare, inherited condition, sickle cell disease.

More and more patients in Sheffield with sickle cell disease are being given regular full body blood transfusions, known as red cell exchanges.

Previously, many patients received intermittent ‘top ups’ but many more patients are now recognised as benefitting from regular red cell changes, but red cell exchanges require a lot more blood. 

Anyone hoping to become a blood donor can register today and book an appointment by clicking here or calling 0300 123 23 23.