A call has gone out for blood donations as hospitals build up life-saving stocks in the run-up to the festive season.
The Scottish National Blood Transfusion Service (SNBTS) said 470 people need to give blood every day in December to meet demand over the Christmas holidays.
The service aims to maintain a five- to seven-day supply of each of the eight different blood groups at all times.
It is asking current donors to ensure they know their blood group and come forward now.
SNBTS is also looking for new donors, particularly those under the age of 45.
Blood demand is unpredictable and even differs with each blood type. For example O- blood can be given to patients with all blood types. AB+ can only be given to patients with AB+. To be ready to help patients in all Scottish hospitals, whenever they need it, SNBTS aims to stock six days’ worth of each blood type at all times.
Blood has a very short shelf life and can’t be stockpiled, so every day it depends on donors to help maintain stocks.
Lynne Willdigg, associate director of donor services, said: “As Christmas Day is a Tuesday this year, traditionally one of our strongest collection days, we are asking donors to come forward now to ensure stocks continue to build in the run-up to the public holiday.
“We would also love to welcome new donors. Forty-seven per cent of active donors in Scotland are age 45 or over so it is important younger people start giving blood to meet the needs of our ageing population.
“As you can start giving blood at age 17, we are reaching out to all younger people to encourage them to think about giving blood now.”
Supporting the call is 40-year-old Rod from Hatton in Aberdeenshire, who was a regular donor before emergency treatment for a burst stomach ulcer five years ago when he received ten pints of donated blood.
In January 2013, he went home ill from work and started vomiting blood.
He said: “I was somehow able to call 999 and was rushed to A&E where I immediately received at least ten pints of blood as well as platelets and plasma.
“The pains I’d been having in my stomach turned out to be a stomach ulcer which had burrowed its way into a major artery and then burst, resulting in my stomach being filled with blood.
“I spent the next few days in hospital and, after that, some time recuperating before I felt well enough to return to work. I was given the complete all-clear two months later.
“Without these anonymous angels, who take an hour out of their day to donate, I might not have survived.”
Anyone over the age of 17 in good health and weighing more than 7st 12lb could potentially become a blood donor.
Giving blood is safe, simple and only takes an hour and there are centres across the country where donations can be made.
SNBTS is also responsible for supplying human tissues and cells for transplantation in Scotland.
For more information or to register as a donor call 0845 90 90 999 or visit www.scotblood.co.uk.