Published in Events · 15 August 2021
I am a Donor Recruiter for NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT) for Plasma for Medicines. My role is to work closely with organisations and the wider community to maximise the donation of plasma (antibodies) for medicines. Until now, plasma for these medicines had to be sourced from overseas (at a cost of £200 million), but we are now authorised to collect plasma from UK donors to help provide life-saving and life-enhancing medicines for patients being treated for rare diseases in the NHS. It is critical that we raise plasma stocks as plasma-based medicines saves lives.
You may have seen on local news the launch of our new summer campaign to encourage more plasma donors to come forward and donate. I wondered if you might share some of our messaging and collateral to members and through your social media channels to raise awareness. I have also noticed you are hosting a gold day on 13th September, it would be great to be able to supply some leaflets etc to be handed out to participants.
We have a full social media pack that includes images for Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, there is also a short video plus zoom/teams backgrounds etc…
We currently have 11 donor centres across England which includes one on the King’s Road in Reading, below is a press release that was sent out for the Reading area and on which the coverage yesterdays was based.
If you need anything further or would like to discuss please do drop me an email or give me a call. I look forward to hearing from your soon
Wednesday July 21
Shortfall in plasma donors in Reading - lack of awareness after 23 year gap
NHS Blood and Transplant is today (Wednesday, July 21) launching its first national campaign for people to donate plasma for medicines, including at the Reading plasma donor centre.
Plasma donation only restarted in April after a gap of more than 20 years and few people know what plasma donation is. An NHSBT survey shows only 23% of the public know about it. (1)
This lack of awareness is contributing to a shortfall in donors. There are 876 active plasma donors at the Reading donor centre, which is in Kennett Place on Kings Road. However the centre needed to have 1,059 donors by this time.
Now, over the next three months, as plasma donation expands, NHSBT needs about 1,000 more people to start donating plasma in Reading to get back on target.
To recruit the lifesaving donors needed, NHSBT is working with partners and running a campaign with a call to ‘join the donor pool’ over the summer, asking people who may not be able to enjoy a holiday to help build the pool of active donors. NHSBT will be working with national and local partners to drive new donors to the 11 new plasma donor centres. (2)
The campaign will include educational content on what plasma donation is. There was a ban on using plasma from UK donors for these medicines from 1998 to February 2021, as a vCJD safety precaution. The independent experts of the MHRA concluded it could safely be restarted.
Donated plasma is made into antibody medicines known as immunoglobulins, which are used to save the lives of people with immune disorders. Around 17,000 people a year receive these medicines.
Last year, 750 people living in the Thames Valley area received medicines made from plasma.
They are mainly used to treat immunodeficiencies (for example, when people lack antibodies to fight infections) and neurological disorders (for example, when the body’s immune system is attacking itself). (3)
Currently the NHS depends entirely on imports of blood plasma from other countries – mainly the US – to manufacture immunoglobulins. Donation to NHSBT will bolster long term NHS supplies. The plasma being donated to NHSBT now will reach hospitals from 2022 onwards, following a manufacturing process to turn it into a medicine.
Donna Blofield, Reading Donor Centre Manager, said: “After a gap of more than 20 years it’s understandable that not many people know living in Reading about plasma donation.
“Now we need the public’s help to expand our pool of plasma donors and meet the targets which will help make England more self-sufficient in the supply of these lifesaving medicines.
“We particularly want to hear from men because they’re more likely to be able to donate.
“Please support this campaign and donate plasma at our centre - you will save lives.”
· To donate plasma, visit www.blood.co.uk/plasma or call 0300 123 23 23.
Notes to Editors
(1) Awareness of Plasma for Medicine stands at 23% among the 16+ population in England. NHSBT Survey respondents May 2021 (2192 people).
(2) There are plasma donor centres in Barnsley, Birmingham, Bolton, Bristol, Croydon, Chelmsford, Manchester, Reading Stratford, Stockton, Twickenham.
(3) Examples of immunodeficiencies treated with immunoglobulins include; genetic disorders where the body can’t make antibodies, and when someone has a damaged immune system from a virus or aggressive cancer treatment. Examples of neurological disorders treated with immunoglobulins include Guillain Barre syndrome and myasthenia gravis. Immunoglobulins also used for a wide array of haematological and other illnesses, such as kawasaki disease, immune thrombocytopenic purpura, and haemolytic disease of the foetus and newborn
NHS Blood and Transplant is a joint England and Wales Special Health Authority. We provide the blood donation service for England and the organ donation service for the UK. We also provide donated tissues, stem cells and cord blood. We are an essential part of the NHS, saving and improving lives through public donation