IRISH people in Britain are being urged to give blood to the NHS as the community has more people with common blood types than the indigenous population.
The universal O- blood type is common among the Irish, although is only found in seven per cent of people who are native to England and Wales, an NHS spokesperson told The Irish Post this week.
“It’s universal, meaning it can be given to anyone in an emergency, making the Irish community very special indeed,” they added.
An NHS drive launched this month calls for Irish people of all blood types to donate to their local services across Britain.
“It is vital that our blood donors are as diverse as the wider population. This is because we need a blood mix which matches the population,” an NHS spokesperson said.
“The Irish community have some blood types which are more common – examples being O+, B+ and A-, and as such it is important that members of the Irish community who are interested in donating blood, step forward and do so.”
The Irish in Britain organisation has agreed to work with the NHS and spread the call for Irish blood donors across their network.
The drive forms part of a wider push to encourage members of all ethnic communities to donate blood in Britain.
“Some blood groups are more prevalent in some ethnic communities than others. As the country is ethnically diverse, it's important that our donors come from diverse backgrounds too,” the NHS adds.
The service is also interested in attracting younger donors to the their blood and transplant database, claiming: “Only 40% of new donors are aged 17-24 and the number of young donors has fallen by 20% over the last 10 years.”
Universal blood type O- can be given to anyone in an emergency, the NHS explained last week.
But they claim it is “mostly used for road traffic accidents” and “similar incidents where there has not been time to type an individual and a blood transfusion is required immediately”.
An individual in a road traffic accident can need between 4 and 40 bags of blood in one instance, they added.
To register as a blood donor call 0300 123 23 23 or visit www.blood.co.uk.
To sign up as an ambassador for blood donation in your area contact [email protected].