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It depends where you are, and on which day - the homepage search will tell you what's available in your area. If you get the chance to make an appointment, go for it. It means you won't have to wait around, and we'll get a better idea of what blood types to expect that day. If appointments aren't available, our team will give you the next available slot. To book an appointment call 0345 90 90 999.

Please spread the word, and encourage someone you know to take up this life-saving habit!

We urgently need 40,000 black donors to provide much needed blood donations for black patients with sickle cell disease. They need life-saving blood from black donors, which provides the closest match to their own.

But in nations such as the US, Germany, Austria, and certain provinces of Canada, people do indeed get remunerated for giving blood, and business is booming.

Around half our current donors are over 45. That's why we need more young people (over the age of 17) to start giving blood, so we can make sure we have enough blood in the future.

If you are well and able, and haven’t already done so, please book your winter appointment today. We guarantee it will be the most appreciated gift you give this year! All blood groups are important, but we’re appealing particularly to O-negative, B-negative and A-negative donors to make an appointment as well as those with rare blood types.

Lisa sat down with her son James and shared the news that the special blood from his birth was going to help save a little boy. “He knew just how serious the situation was.”

Mr Hearron adds that the other donors of plasma - the straw-coloured liquid that makes up 55% of your blood's volume - were "generally working-class folk or fellow students".

It is also classified into different blood groups and blood types. Find out why we need blood and how it is used.

Ms Lanteigne adds that plasma should remain in the public sector, or otherwise pharmaceutical companies will be able to set prices as high as they like.

You will be given information to read and a health and lifestyle questionnaire to complete. You will then have an interview with a trained healthcare professional to determine if you are eligible to donate. The purpose of the interview is to ensure that it is safe for you to donate and safe for a patient to receive your blood. All information provided by you will be treated in the strictest confidence. There are many reasons why you may not be eligible to donate and if you are not eligible, the reason for this will be fully explained to you and you will be advised when you can return to donate. While we understand that it may be disappointing for those donors who are unable to donate on a given day, we would encourage all donors to return to give blood when we notify them that they are eligible again, to help us maintain the blood supply to the hospitals.

Workplace schemes are most successful when supported by top management, so that employees know that their organisation's leadership endorses participation and time off. The blood service is able to support participating employers with advice and literature. Steven Sugden of the blood and transplant donor services, says: "When a session does take place within an appropriate work environment we provide a representative with promotional material to publicise the session. Other ways to encourage staff to donate may be to attach a leaflet to their pay packet, put a link on their website or set up a display."

The importance of donating blood is well-known. The American Red Cross estimates that someone in the U.S. needs blood every two seconds. Along with platelet, plasma and double red cell, blood donation benefits a huge number of people, as more than 41,000 donations are needed every day. It’s a great way for you and your company to give back, but how can you get everyone to participate?

You must wait at least 12 weeks between blood donations.

The festive season is always a difficult time of year to maintain blood stocks, which usually dip from mid-December to early January. With the usual winter ailments doing the rounds, making it impossible for some donors to donate, we’re also competing for precious time with Christmas shopping and get-togethers with family and friends.

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Prof Macis adds that the demand for plasma is growing as more people in the developing world have access to healthcare.

Giving blood is not as scary as it sounds, and according to the NHS's National Blood Service every pint donated can save up to three lives: they could be babies, mothers in childbirth or people having operations or suffering from medical conditions. Yet many healthy people who would be eligible to boost the UK's blood bank stocks by giving blood fail to do so, either through fear, apathy or lack of awareness. It's a good and satisfying way of helping other people, at no physical or financial cost to yourself, and your boss may even give you time off to do it.

Mario Macis, an economist at Johns Hopkins University, says that altruistic donation isn't enough to meet the world's growing need for plasma.

To register as a donor you must weigh more than 50kgs (7st. 12lbs) and be in good general health. The lower age limit is 17; the original upper limit of 65 has been scrapped. There are certain categories where you definitely can't give blood (if you have had hepatitis or jaundice in the past 12 months, for example) and some where you may not be able to.

When I used to give blood regularly in the 1980s I used to take my mind off the procedure by closing my eyes and thinking of the classic Tony Hancock sketch. Visiting his local blood clinic, he uttered the famous line: "A pint? Why, that's very nearly an armful!" The doctor retorted: "You won't have an empty arm ... or an empty anything!" By the time I had finished chuckling it was all over and I was ready for my free cup of tea and biscuits.

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Construction company Morgan Ashurst is one of many employers to have signed up to the campaign to "save 1,000 lives" by donating blood. It made the commitment at the end of last year and many of its offices are having their second visit from the mobile unit. "The message has to come from the top", says its head of sustainability, Mark Turner. "Our managing director Graham Shennan has given blood himself."

You can give blood in one of our donor centres, in Edinburgh, Glasgow, Aberdeen, Inverness and Dundee. We also collect blood in communities across Scotland. To find out when we're in your area next, go to the homepage and search on your town or postcode.

We need more donors from all blood groups and types. We particularly need more people from black, Asian and minority ethnic communities to give blood so that we have a supply of certain blood types.

She says that paying for plasma "preys on vulnerable populations", and harms voluntary blood donation.

Our committed donors are already aware of the value of giving blood and platelets, but just 3 per cent of the eligible population give blood.

In countries such as the UK, where blood donation is entirely voluntary and unpaid, paying for it might seem distasteful or exploitative.

People with immune deficiencies can be given extra immunoglobulins, a protein molecule, to boost the levels in their bloodstream, helping them fight infections. The effects last three to four weeks.

"You felt like you were making an impact, and it was nice to get a bit of cash on the side," he says.

The US, the world's largest exporter, now sends more than $2bn worth of plasma and related blood products overseas every month, making it the country's 12th most valuable export.

Good Employers And Giving Blood

You are advised to remain in the donation clinic for at least 15 minutes after donating. This time is spent in the canteen area where you will be given refreshments. It is important to drink cold fluids post donation in order to rehydrate yourself. You will be given a card with post donation advice. It is important to keep this card for reference purposes.

Employers have been crucial in ensuring regular contributions to blood banks by making the workplace available for donations. The National Blood Service estimates that in the past year workplace donations accounted for 16% of all sessions and involved some 1,553 employers.

Alternatively, Italy may offer a useful middle way. While it doesn't pay blood donors it gives them a paid day off to donate. This is worth €150 for the average Italian worker.

He adds: "And that's a lot more appealing to people, the act of donating shouldn't make anyone worse off."

Many people would not be alive today if donors had not generously given their blood.

If you are finding that you can’t book a convenient appointment at your local session, please check 24 hours before it’s due to take place for any last minute cancellations.

With the help of hundreds of blood donors and nearly 1,000 units of blood components, Elaine beat the odds and lived long enough to benefit from a new treatment for the disorder.