The #MissingType campaign has been launched by NHS Blood and Transplant to get more people to give blood. The groups mainly being targeted by the campaign are young people; aged 17 to 24, and those from African, Caribbean and Asian ethnic groups.
You might have noticed a few letters missing from the headings of your favourite website or newspaper recently. If you’ve been around central London then you might also have noticed letters missing from buildings such as Waterstones in Trafalgar Square, the Odeon cinema in Leicester Square and even the Downing Street sign.
If you’ve noticed this, don’t worry – these organisations haven’t been letting their standards slip. In fact, many brands have been dropping the A, O, and B from their websites and signs to highlight the three major missing blood types.
The campaign was noticed by thousands of people who wondered where the mysteriously missing letters had got to. When the reason behind the disappearing As, Os and Bs was finally revealed, it was a massive success – generating a huge amount of media coverage and resulting in more than 30,000 donors giving blood for the first time. However, this is still not enough and the NHS still desperately needs more people than ever from minority ethnic groups and those with the blood types A, O and B to register to donate.
The NHS is concerned that some people don’t give blood because they are scared of needles and believe that the process will be invasive and painful. This is a myth that the team behind the #MissingType campaign is keen to bust.
The blood donation process is incredibly quick and surprisingly simple. It starts by checking online whether you are eligible to give blood. If you are able to donate, then register to be a blood donor online or by phoning 0300 123 23 23. Then book an appointment.
When you arrive on the day you will be greeted by a friendly member of staff who will give you a welcome leaflet to read and 500ml of fluid to drink. You will then be given a short health screening; all you have to do is fill out a short form and have one drop of your blood tested.
Finally, you will be made comfortable and a clean needle will be entered into your arm, safely extracting around one pint of blood. This should not cause any pain or discomfort and will take around five minutes. When the needle is removed, a sterile dressing will be placed on your arm and you will be able to leave.
Why should you give blood?
The slogan that the NHS has for blood donation is; ‘you won’t miss it when you give it; but patients could miss it if you don’t.’
Giving blood is a stress-free, painless process that will take just a short amount of time out of your day but will save lives. There are plenty of people alive today who wouldn’t be were it not for the generous donations of blood givers.
Every day, around 6,000 patients in the UK are given donated blood. This staggering amount of emergency cases is why the NHS is constantly in need of new blood donors. Young people and Black, Asian and other minority ethnic groups are urgently needed by the NHS to ensure a wider array of blood types.
Where to give blood
Every year, more than 23,000 blood donations sessions are held at 3000 venues around the UK. Blood can be given at both permanent blood donor centres and temporary community based venues. There are several places across East Berkshire where donors can go to give blood, including upcoming donation sessions in Wokingham and Maidenhead. Sessions are also regularly held at Bracknell Leisure Centre, so if you want to ‘help fill in the gaps’ check out the website to find out when the next one will be taking place.