A PLEA has been issued as new figures show the number of blood donors in the district has fallen to its lowest level for at least six years.

Latest data from NHS Blood and Transplant reveals that 4,808 people in Bradford district gave blood in the 12 months to March this year – the fewest since at least 2016, when figures were first available.

Demand for blood dropped during the pandemic as hospitals suspended routine operations.

But there is an increased need for supplies as activity picks up, which coupled with the drop in donations has sparked the plea.

Figures show that the number of new donors in the district has also decreased – in the 12 months to March the total was 597, compared to 600 the previous year and 1,250 in the period to March 2020.

And the number of new people registering to give blood has fallen to below pre-pandemic levels – 1,761 people registered in 2021-22, compared to 3,127 in 2019-20.

The declining numbers are mirrored nationally.

Across England, in the 12 months to March this year, 789,840 people donated. That compares to 878,612 in 2015-16.

To address the shortfall, NHS Blood and Transplant has set a target of recruiting nearly 175,000 new donors nationally – including 18,337 across Yorkshire.

All blood types are sought but the NHS is particularly short of types O negative and B negative, and is encouraging people to get tested to see if they have in-demand, rare blood that could save lives.

Alex Cullen, head of blood donation marketing for NHS Blood and Transplant, said: "The NHS needs more donors of all blood types over the next five years.

"We also especially need more Black African and Black Caribbean donors to help patients with sickle cell.

"A mass public campaign is being held throughout this month to identify people with most needed blood types. This year we’re encouraging more people to donate and find out their blood type."

This month has also seen countries across the world celebrate World Blood Donor Day. It raises awareness of the need for safe blood and blood products, and pays tribute to all voluntary donors.

For further information about giving blood and to register, visit blood.co.uk, call 0300 123 23 23 or download the GiveBloodNHS app. The website includes details of who can give blood and how to find out what your blood type is.