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Blood Supplies

Volume 175: debated on Tuesday 26 June 1990

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To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what information he has on hospitals which are currently short of blood supplies; and if he will list the name of the health authority in which they are located;(2) what steps he is taking to improve the supplies of blood to hospitals;(3) how much money is spent on advertising the need for blood donors to national health service hospitals.

Blood supplies can fluctuate but are at present satisfactory and there is no need for any hospital to cancel elective surgery due to shortage of blood.To maintain blood supplies the national blood transfusion service (NBTS) has been allocated a central publicity budget of £627,000 for the current financial year. This central funding is supplemented by regional health authorities for local publicity campaigns.The NBTS is constantly seeking better ways of matching supply and demand for blood. These include improved communications with blood donors to encourage more recruitment, retention and response to call-up; improved arrangements through the national directorate of the blood transfusion service to transfer blood when needed between regions; and improved communications between hospitals and transfusion centres so that demand may be foreseen and the level of supply planned in advance. However, the availability of blood ultimately depends on the good will and generosity of our blood donors. We are grateful to them.