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UK needs 200,000 new blood donors to avoid shortage, NHS shelves safe staffing plan, and G7 summit plans medic army

A round-up of the monring’s health news headlines

The UK is facing a potential blood shortage this year after the number of new donors has fallen by 40% compared to the previous decade, the Guardian reports.

NHS Blood and Transplant said that fewer people are giving blood because of longer working hours, and greater numbers taking exotic holidays and getting tattoos - both of which preclude blood donation.

It says 70% more donors will need to come forward this year if blood stocks are to remain at a safe level, and experts say this amounts to 204,000 donors this year alone.

Jon Latham, assistant director for donor services and marketing at NHS Blood and Transplant, said: ‘We simply can’t ignore the fact that there has been a stark reduction in the number of new donors coming forward – a trend seen across the world.’

NHS England has shelved plans to implement NICE guidance on safe nurse staffing levels after issuing a call for a crack-down on ‘rip-off’ nursing agency fees, the Telegraph reports.

NICE issued guidance saying there must be one nurse to every four patients in a bed, at all times, in response to the Mid Staffordshire scandal and reports that some wards had one nurse to fifteen patients.

Susan Osborne, director of the safe staffing alliance campaign group, said that the decision was a ‘dangerous and backward step’.

And finally, the BBC reports that plans are believed to be underfoot for a ‘global army of medics’ to be announced at the G7 summit in Germany on Sunday.

Pulse understands this will not be an organised militia set to march on CQC towers, but is in fact to be a standing group of 10,000 medics who can be rapidly deployed in the event of a disease outbreak such as the Ebola epidemic in West Africa.

In a newspaper column this week, German chancellor Angela Merkel said: ‘The establishment of a worldwide taskforce with a sensible overall concept and adequate funding is undoubtedly a goal for the medium term, but we should be looking at it even now.’

Readers' comments (2)

  • The blood donor shortage situation may not be helped by the apparent scaling back of availability of sessions. I live and work in West Cumbria, and local sessions are 3-7pm - so during normal working hours for a GP. They're also few and far between and tend to be very full, so it's not that people aren't willing to donate.
    The relatively recent bodyweight-based rule that excludes lots of normal-sized young woman (dictating, for example, that my 5'1" 18-year-old daughter must either fatten up to around 60kg or wait till she's 20 to donate) may not be helping the situation either.

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  • I think the session times and availability do need to be reviewed. My son stated he can't find one outside his office hours! The only trouble is that to extend session times will mean more staff!

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