Call for community to make a ‘date to donate’ during National Blood Week

Data today from NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT) reveals that only 13.2 percent of blood donated in London comes from south Asians. During National Blood Week (13th–19th June), NHSBT is urging the community to step forward and ‘make a date to donate’ blood in the coming weeks.

With specific blood groups, like type B, more common amongst south Asians, it is crucial that people from this ethnic group donate blood: 25 percent of all south Asians are blood type B, compared to only nine percent of Caucasians. Also, conditions like Thalassaemia Major, which require regular blood transfusions, are more prevalent amongst this community.

Campaigns specifically targeting South Asians have had some success in encouraging the community to donate blood regularly and while there has been an increase, there is still a long way to go to making sure demand for blood from this community is met with enough donors.

Every year thousands of lives are saved or improved thanks to selfless blood donors. It is essential that new people register to become blood donors; the NHS needs 7,000 units of donated blood every day to be used for a wide range of reasons: not just for rare blood disorders, but also for surgery, to treat cancer patients and for use in difficult childbirths.

Kalpna Patel, 34, fundraising manager from North West London says: “I have sickle cell beta thalassaemia, at age 10 my doctors decided I needed an exchange blood transfusion in order to treat my sickle cell disease. They removed my old red blood cells and replaced it with donor blood. Up to my teens I continued having top up transfusions.

“Giving blood is quick and simple, you can make an appointment near your work or home and at a time that suits you. I think some people are frightened it will hurt but it's not painful at all.”

Every day around 133 people from south Asian backgrounds give blood, but NHSBT still need more people from this community to donate.

Celebrity author, Roopa Farooki is supporting the campaign and urging more south Asians to donate. She says:

“Giving blood is one of the easiest ways someone can save another person’s life and National Blood Week is a fantastic opportunity to make sure you book an appointment to give blood.

“I was shocked to learn that less then two percent of blood donations are from the south Asian community. I hope that more members of our community will today make that commitment to donate blood.”

Dr Ajai Singh, Associate Specialist in donor medicine at NHSBT, comments:

“Religious faiths encourage helping others and therefore giving blood. It’s a simple act that could save several lives. Just one unit of blood can save the lives of three adults or seven babies, and you can start donating from the age of 17.”

For more information about blood donation or to make an appointment visit, call 0300 123 2323 or follow NHSBT at or