Hospital supports campaign for plasma donors in Teesside

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Photograph of a bag of plasma

South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust is supporting an NHS campaign for people to start donating lifesaving plasma.

Plasma is made into antibody medicines which are used to treat immune system problems.

Around 17,000 people around the country need these medicines each year to save and transform their lives.

NHS Blood and Transplant is responsible for donation, and it is appealing for new plasma donors to ‘join the donor pool’ this summer, to ensure enough is collected nationally to meet demand.

Last year (2019/2020), 188 patients at South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust were treated with medicines made from plasma donations.

Illnesses that can be treated with these medicines include:

• Immune disorders such as common variable immune deficiency
• Brain and nerve disorders such as guillain–barre syndrome and myasthenia gravis
• Blood disorders such as Immune thrombocytopenic purpura and haemolytic disease of the newborn
• Skin disorders such as toxic epidermal necrolysis

When people donate, the plasma is filtered out of circulating blood by an apheresis machine and the red blood cells are returned to the donor.

The antibodies in the plasma are concentrated into medicines known as immunoglobulins. The antibodies boost or stabilise the patient’s immune system. There is a particular need for men to donate, due to them better meeting the donation criteria.

People must be aged between 17 and 66 and have suitable veins and blood volumes.

An NHS Blood and Transplant spokesperson said: “We’re very grateful to South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust for supporting our campaign for more people to donate plasma for medicines. The nearest donor centre is in Thornaby, in Stockton.

“It’s easy to donate plasma and people feel great after donating, knowing they’ve helped someone in serious need.”

Dr Vincent Connolly, associate medical director at South Tees, said: “Thousands of people rely on medicines made from plasma. We’re happy to support this NHS call for people in the Tees area to donate.”

To find out more about plasma donation visit https://www.blood.co.uk/plasma/ or call 0300 123 23 23.