PEOPLE are being urged to donate blood and help save lives over the festive period.
NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT) statistics show that as the decorations go up blood stocks go down, with December appointments nationally already far lower than the yearly average.
There are around 15,000 less appointments than at the same time last year.
Darren Bowen, NHSBT lead donor relations manager North East, said: “By giving blood you’ll be giving the greatest Christmas present of all – the gift of life.
“Just one unit of blood can save the life of three adults or seven babies. It is truly a money-cannot-buy present.
“Donating blood is one of the best Christmas gifts you can give. For those needing blood transfusions, blood donors really are their lifeline. Ninety-six per cent of us rely on the other four per cent to give blood. Please don’t leave it to someone else.”
The NHS needs 7,000 units of donated blood every day and 230,000 new donors each year to help maintain blood stock levels.
NHSBT is also working to boost stocks of O Rh negative (O-) and B Rh negative (B-) blood throughout December and is asking for people with these blood types to come forward and donate in the run-up to Christmas.
People can start donating from the age of 17.
For more information about blood donation or to make an appointment, visit www.blood.co.uk, call 0300 1232323 or follow NHSBT at http://www.facebook.com/NHSBlood or www.twitter.com/NHSGiveBlood