Shortage of men in Ipswich donating blood, NHS warns
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Fears have been raised over a serious shortage of men donating blood in Ipswich - with concerns that "blood stocks will come under increasing pressure" without more male donors.
NHS Blood and Transplant said there is a "serious imbalance" in the gender of new donors, with just 44% of new people giving blood in Ipswich in 2019 being male.
Although it said the figure "reflects a wider national trend", it pointed out that until the end of November last year just 144 men had started donating blood in the town - compared to 184 women.
"This is a concern because men have higher iron levels, and only men's blood can be used for some transfusions and products," the service said.
"Without more men starting to give blood, blood stocks will come under increasing pressure in future years."
NHS Blood and Transplant is therefore making Ipswich a target area in its new national campaign urging ordinary men to become donors.
Its goal is for 48% of all new donors in Ipswich to be male during 2020.
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Mike Stredder, head of donor recruitment for NHS Blood and Transplant, said: "All our donors are amazing. But we need more men to start donating blood in Ipswich during the New Year.
"Men's blood can be used in extraordinary, lifesaving ways, but we don't have enough new male donors coming forward.
"This is not about recruiting as many donors as possible - it's about getting the right gender mix.
"If you can't find an appointment right away don't worry - your blood will do extraordinary things if you donate in a few weeks instead."
NHS Blood and Transplant pointed out that only men's blood can be used for some specialist transfusions and blood products.
For example, only men's blood is used for complete blood transfusions in newborn babies, and also for plasma, which is used for people who've had massive blood loss.
The service also gets 93% of its platelets from male donors - they are mostly given to cancer patients to cut internal bleeding.
For more information about becoming a blood donor, visit NHS Blood and Transplant's website.