AN appeal for O Rh negative (O-) blood donors has been made by health bosses.
High demand and an outbreak of norovirus, leading to people cancelling donor appointments, were blamed for a recent fall in stocks.
Jon Latham, assistant director of marketing for NHS blood and transplant, said: "We would like to urge all O- donors to walk into their most convenient donor session to give blood to help rebuild stock levels.
"We are always grateful to donors who respond to calls such as this and appreciate that in doing so they do give up some of their precious time.
"Waiting times may vary in the next few days as we try to accommodate all donors.
"Demand for blood never stops and O- donors can help to ensure healthy blood stocks in the upcoming weeks, by giving blood now and in the next few days.
"Donors with blood group O- negative are commonly known as the 'universal donor’ as their blood can be given to patients with a different blood group.
"This can prove vital in an emergency situation where there may not be time for an immediate blood group testing to be carried out. Approximately 7% of the population have this blood group.
"Healthy blood stocks are vital to ensure that patients undergoing surgery and receiving treatment for cancer and blood diseases, such as leukaemia, continue to receive the transfusions they need.
"Anyone aged between 17-65, weighing more than 50 kg (7 stone 12lbs) and in general good health could potentially start saving lives by becoming a blood donor. There is no upper age limit for donors who have donated in the last two years."
For more information, to book an appointment or to find a local blood donor session please call 0300 123 23 23 or visit www.blood.co.uk
A blood donor session will be held at Sandown and Shanklin Rugby Club next Friday.
Further sessions will be held at Bembridge Youth and Community Centre on Wednesday, January 16, Wootton Community Centre on Monday, January 21, Riverside Centre on Wednesday, January 23 and Cowes Yacht Haven on Tuesday, January 29.