BLOOD supplies in Southampton have dropped to dangerously low levels because of the heatwave and England’s incredible run in the World Cup.

NHS bosses in the city have issued an urgent plea for O negative blood following a dramatic fall in the number of donations over the past two weeks.

O negative is the one type of blood that can be given to almost anyone who needs a life-saving transfusion.

But World Cup fever and the Mediterranean-style weather have led to supplies plummeting, with donations down by up to 20 per cent on match days.

Donor centres in Southampton and other parts of the UK have just three days of stocks left - half the normal amount.

Mike Stredder, director of blood donation for NHS Blood and Transplant, said: “The long spell of sunshine has been great in many ways.

“But some people have chosen to stay in the sun instead of giving blood - and some haven’t been hydrated enough to donate safely.

“England’s excellent World Cup performance has also meant that football fans are spending their time enjoying the games rather than donating blood.

“However hospital patients in Southampton urgently need blood every day of the year, whatever the weather.

“Nationally we aim to have six days’ worth of stocks but today we only have three days of O negative blood.

“O negative is especially important because it’s the universal donor group which can be given to almost anyone in an emergency.

“We need donors with other blood groups to keep their appointments as usual but this appeal is specific to O negative.”

Southampton Donor Centre is on the same site as Southampton General Hospital.

Existing donors with O negative blood can simply walk in and donate. Alternatively they can call 0300 1232323 and make an appointment.

Mr Stredder said: “Please don’t delay - we need you today.”

The combined effect of the heatwave and England’s stunning World Cup performance has cost the NHS about 2,000 blood donations in the past two weeks.

O negative can be given to a patient whose blood group is unknown or not immediately available, saving vital time in an emergency and possibly making the difference between life and death.

It is also said to be the safest type for newborns with under-developed immune systems.

But only 6.6 per cent of the population have O negative blood, making it the rarest group as well as the most important.


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