Critical call for Black people in London to donate blood as 16,000 new donors urgently needed nationwide


This Sickle Cell Awareness Month, NHS Blood and Transplant is urging Black people to donate blood to save lives. It is safe and easy to donate and you can save up to three lives in one hour.

16,000 new donors from the Black and mixed Black communities must be recruited across the country this year as demand rises for life-saving transfusions for people with sickle cell disease. In London, there are currently 6454 Black donors – 6.3 per cent of overall active donors.

Sickle cell is the fastest growing genetic disorder in the UK, affecting 15,000 people with around 300 babies born with the blood disorder each year.

Each month 1,300 Black donors are needed to give blood to provide life-saving transfusions to sickle cell patients, as well as for use in emergencies, childbirth, during surgery, in cancer treatments and for us in other medical conditions.

Sickle cell is an inherited blood disorder and is more common in Black people. It can cause organ failure, stroke or loss of vision, and can be fatal.

People who are Black African, Black Caribbean and of Black mixed ethnicity are more likely to have the rare blood sub-group Ro that many Black sickle cell patients need. 3073 Black donors in London – 48 per cent of Black active donors – have Ro blood.

Colin Anderson, Community & Engagement Lead at NHS Blood and Transplant, said: “The numbers of blood donors needed from Black African and Black Caribbean communities show just how important our appeal is for new donors to make an appointment to give blood today.

“There are very real people behind these numbers – they are children, adults and their families who face painful struggles with life-threatening sickle cell and uncertain futures.

“But they are also the donors who are doing something amazing – giving blood takes just one hour and can save three lives.

“We know demand for Black blood donors will continue to rise as the number of people with sickle cell grows but we have a chance now to close the gap and help our friends, neighbours and communities battling this disease.”

NHS Blood and Transplant is working closely with Black communities and sickle cell groups to increase numbers of new donors and rates of donation through a variety of campaigns and events.

The number of Black donors has increased in recent years by around 29 per cent.

Last month, on Saturday June 19 2021 the highest number of blood donations from Black donors in a single day for 22 years was recorded – with 223 donations. The previous record was held in 1999 with 212 donations in one day.

The spike in Black donors in June accompanied a special blood donation event, which was part of the United by Blood campaign led by Black health charity African Caribbean Leukaemia Trust (ACLT), to encourage more Black people to donate in memory of Evan Nathan Smith, a 21-year-old man who had sickle cell anaemia.

Become a blood donor. Register today and book and appointment by visiting, downloading the GiveBloodNHS app or calling 0300 123 23 23.