World Blood Donor Day was yesterday. Paul Hayes of the New Zealand Blood Service explains the need for more people to save the day and give blood.

People who are eligible to donate can book an appointment to save their day to donate or register their interest with the Blood Service online.

The New Zealand Blood Service needs people aged 16 to 60 to save a day to donate blood.

People who are eligible to donate can book an appointment to save their day to donate or register their interest with the Blood Service online.

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Less than 4 per cent of people donate blood each year.

Yet, new research shows that more than 8 per cent of respondents think they have donated in the past year.

The survey also revealed that 36 per cent of respondents have received blood themselves or know friends or family members that have received blood, underlining the importance of donated blood. Blood Donors Save the Day, the message for yesterday's World Blood Donor Day is driven by a need to have more people saving at least one day a year to donate blood.

Turnover in donor availability and eligibility means 20,000 people drop off the donor database each year, so another 20,000 new donors are needed to take their place.

Currently a small and dedicated group of regular donors are responsible for providing the 150,000 units of blood our health services need each year.

For 82 per cent of them, donations were made by saving the day - either by planning in advance themselves or being contacted by the Blood Service.

In contrast, one third of non-donors said the main reason for not donating was because they had "just never got around to it".

While issues around transport, accessibility and opening hours are also cited in the survey as potential barriers, the Blood Service can assist people to manage these factors.

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During World Blood Donor Day the Blood Service is urging people who want to donate to save a day in the year ahead to do so.

More that half of respondents said they were likely to donate in the next six months once they learnt so few people donate blood, that blood only lasts 35 days and that it's needed for cancer treatments, babies and pregnant women.

Because donated blood only last 35 days, supplies to blood banks are carefully managed.

People who save a day to donate help ensure supplies are maintained for patients in need.

More people who save a day to donate will reduce the demands on current donors and also expand the database of blood types, ensuring blood is available for specific patients and for specialised medical treatments and emergencies.

Saving the day is a simple and effective way to ensure that peoples' desire to donate is acted on.

Visit

or phone 0800 GIVE BLOOD for more information.

Donating Blood in New Zealand

Survey 2011 - Summary of results

The NZ Blood Service online survey of 1000 people selected randomly was conducted by independent research company, Synovate during May 2011. Respondents (434 men,  566 women) aged 18  and over. The margin of error  is 3.1 per cent.

What people didn't know:

61 per cent didn't know that blood only lasts 35 days

91 per cent didn't know that only 4 per cent of people donate regularly

92 per cent didn't know that 7 per cent of blood is used by pregnant women and babies

92 per cent didn't know that 25 per cent of blood is used for cancer treatments

Only a very small number of people donate regularly.

8 per cent of people reported donating  in the past year. Half  this group gave more than once

10 per cent donated one to five years ago - donors from this point  are considered 'lapsing' or 'lapsed'

7 per cent donated 6 to 10 years ago

16 per cent donated more than 10 years ago

The vast majority,  73 per cent, have never donated blood.


Only half  those who think they've donated in the past year actually have.

Less than 4 per cent of people would have donated blood in the past year

36 per cent of people have received blood  or have a friend or family member who has.

Once they realised how few people actually donate, and the importance of those donations, people said they were more likely to donate.

Over 50 per cent of respondents said they would be likely to donate within the next six months, given the issues and information covered in the survey

92 per cent of respondents didn't know that 7 per cent of donated blood was used to help pregnant women and babies

91 per cent didn't know that 25 per cent of donated blood was used in cancer treatment

91 per cent didn't know that only 4 per cent of people currently donate blood

Most regular donors plan in advance - they 'save the day'.

56 per cent plan in advance

26 per cent were directly contacted by the NZBS

12 per cent donate with a group or at an NZBS mobile

About 1/3 of lapsed donors either forgot or didn't find the time.

Many of the other reasons for not donating more recently might be overcome if people saved a specific day to donate and registered with the NZBS.

33 per cent had forgotten or didn't find the time

35 per cent believed they were no longer eligible

14 per cent had changed contact details or had not received a reminder

13 per cent didn't know why they had lapsed

13 per cent felt locations and opening hours were inconvenient

10 per cent had problems donating and didn't want to do it again

About 1/3 of non-donors just haven't got around to it.

27 per cent have never got around to it

7 per cent had no time or found it inconvenient

31 per cent believed they were ineligible

27 per cent were anxious about needles or pain of donating

39 per cent gave a range of other reasons or simply don't know why

- Data from NZ Blood Service donor database as at May 2011.