DONATING life-saving blood supplies has become easier for residents in Bucks, with modern smartphone technology now lending a hand to the way appointments can be booked.
NHS Blood and Transplant has introduced new and improved applications for iPhone and Android devices and an app for Windows devices is also coming soon.
This is on top of recent improvements to the www.blood.co.uk website, which lets manage their own appointments in real time for sessions in England and North Wales.
Jon Latham, Assistant Director of Donor Services and Marketing for NHS Blood and Transplant, said: "We recognise that people lead busy lives and we want to make donating as easy as possible. Our recent developments enable donors to self-service 24/7 in whatever way they wish to contact us, wherever they are.
"They are able to make and change appointments as well as keep up to date with their blood account. These improvements are all part of our ambition to be the best blood service in the world.
"We always need new donors to replace those who can no longer donate for health or other reasons, and particularly look to younger donors to join the team to protect blood supplies now and in the years to come.
"While all blood groups are important, some blood groups, such as O Rh negative - the universal blood group - and B Rh negative are more vulnerable than others. It's even more important that the number of regular donors with these blood groups increases. Many people don't know what blood group they are until they make their first donation. So why not register to donate and see what part you’ll play in the Greatest Team in the World?"
Donating blood is easy - and is vital for patients in need of blood in accident and emergency situations, patients undergoing surgery and receiving treatment for cancer and blood diseases, and women haemorrhaging in childbirth. While overall blood use within the NHS has reduced, thanks to improvements in clinical and surgical practices, hospitals and patients still rely on more than 7,000 people attending a donation session every day across England and North Wales for the blood they need.
Every donor can save or improve up to three lives every time they donate blood. In general, as long as you are fit and healthy, weigh more than 7 stone 12 lbs (50kg) and are aged between 17 and 66 (up to 70 if you have given blood before) you should be able to give blood.
If you are over 70, you need to have given blood in the last two years to continue donating.
Potential and existing whole blood donors can register to create an online account at www.blood.co.uk or download one of the apps and register for an account. They can then book and manage their own appointments up to the day of the session and view their donation history. When using the apps you can search for a session based on your location and share that you have donated on Facebook. To download an app for your device, search 'NHSGiveBlood' in the app store.
NHS Blood and Transplant’s Facebook page (www.facebook.com/NHSBlood) and Twitter page (@GiveBloodNHS) are also important ways for donors to keep in touch and have their questions about donation answered. So in addition to the 24/7 donor line (0300 123 23 23), it’s never been easier to register and become a donor.
To book an appointment, visit www.blood.co.uk or call the Donor Line on 0300 123 23 23. To download an app for your device, search 'NHSGiveBlood' in the app store.
Upcoming sessions in the area are at as follows: Monday, July 28 - Flackwell Heath Community Centre, Straight Bit, Flackwell Heath, HP10 9LS. From 1.15pm to 3.30pm and from 4.15pm to 7pm.
Thursday, July 31 - St Andrews Church Centre, Rogers Lane, Stoke Poges, SL2 4LN. From 12:45pm to 3.30pm and 5pm to 7.45pm.