NHS Blood and Transplant to send out home testing kits in quest for O negative donors

NHS Blood and Transplant to send out home testing kits in quest for O negative donors

To meet the rising demand for type O negative blood, NHS Blood and Transplant is to send out 6,000 home testing kits to people that have recently registered to be a blood donor but have not yet made their first appointment.

It is the first time that the method of using large-scale home test kits to identify people with a certain blood type and booking them on to priority appointments has been trialled by the NHS.

The kit is a simple finger prick test, with a few small drops of blood, a litmus-test style card and a chart to match up results being all that is needed to find out a likely blood type in five minutes.

O negative blood can be given to almost anyone, making it especially valuable in emergencies when there is no time to test a patient’s blood type.

Around 13 per cent of hospital requests are for this type yet only 8 per cent of the population have it.

David Rose, director of donor experience for NHS Blood and Transplant, said:

“Patient needs and medical advances are changing, and already certain blood types are needed more often than others.

“We need an ever-growing share of our blood donors to be O negative to meet rising hospital demand for this type.

“This innovative new home testing kit could be key to helping newly-registered donors understand if they have the in-demand O negative blood type and that we would like them to act and book their first appointment as soon as possible.”

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