Blood plea as donors drop to lowest level this century

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Kate McRae and baby AbigailImage source, Kate McRae
Image caption,
Kate McRae needed 12 life-saving blood transfusions after a delivery complication

Scotland has fewer registered blood donors than at any other point this century, it has been revealed.

The number of people donating blood supplies has dropped by 13,000 over the past year according to figures from NHS Scotland.

The Scottish National Blood Transfusion Service (SNBTS) has issued an appeal for donors, old and new, to come forward over the festive period.

It says Scotland needs 3,300 donors a week to keep stocks at a safe level.

An Inverness couple who owe their lives to the service have joined the appeal.

Kate McRae, 29, needed 12 life-saving blood transfusions following a postpartum haemorrhage after she gave birth to her daughter.

Her husband, Mike, 35, who has colitis, a condition affecting the colon, also received a life-changing transfusion when he was 18.

The couple, who have two daughters - four-month-old Abigail and two-year-old Hollie - thanked those who helped save their lives.

"I lost nearly all the blood in my body," Mrs McRae said.

"There's no doubt that without those people my children wouldn't have a mother, and my husband wouldn't have a wife. It's the best thing you could give this Christmas."

Image source, Kate McRae
Image caption,
Kate McRae lost almost all the blood in her body

In the last year active blood donors fell from more than 105,000 to fewer than 92,000.

SNBTS, which is part of NHS Scotland, says hospitals are concerned going into the Christmas holiday period.

It has started offering more weekend sessions at donor centres across the country and has opened a new flagship centre in Livingston.

Dr Sylvia Armstrong-Fisher of SNBTS said: "With fewer people donating regularly, we want to welcome 50 new or returning blood donors every single day over the winter.

"Maintaining a safe and regular supply of blood to hospitals is our top priority."

Dr Musa Watila, a speciality doctor in neurology at Aberdeen Royal Infirmary, lives with the blood disorder sickle cell disease.

He said: "I understand very well what it means to be on the other side of the table as a patient."

He needs transfusions every eight weeks and is also supporting the SNBTS campaign this winter.

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