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NZ Blood Service Launches Recruitment Campaign

7 February NZBS…1

‘Every Drop Counts’:
New Zealand Blood Service Launches First National Donor Recruitment Campaign

Attention: New donors. Lapsed donors. Existing donors. The New Zealand Blood Service wants you!

NZBS this week launches New Zealand’s first national blood donor campaign to encourage an additional 12,000 donors to roll up their sleeves during the next year for New Zealand, replacing people expected to be lost to a new donor policy.

“We’re confident that New Zealanders will respond favourably to our request. Our research clearly shows that most Kiwis are happy to donate if they know blood is needed. Our message to them is that we do need their blood now more than ever, and that ‘every drop counts’,” said NZBS National Medical Director, Dr Peter Flanagan.

The campaign, developed in conjunction with Colenso, is a direct “call for action” to New Zealanders. Over the next several months, the campaign will include 30 and 15 second television advertisements and a range of print media ads.

Dr Flanagan stressed that NZBS does not need to attract 12,000 new donors all at once.

“It’s important that people realise we don’t need to increase our level of donation, just to maintain it over the year. If we do that, we win. I am confident that we can do exactly that, because of the generosity of New Zealanders,” said Dr Flanagan.

The new donor recruitment campaign, funded by the Ministry of Health, is needed to offset the expected loss of 10% of New Zealand’s 120,000 donors over the year from 17 February, when the new donor policy is implemented. The policy means that people who spent more than 6 months (in total) in the UK between 1980-1996 will no longer be able to donate blood.

During the last 3 months NZBS has developed a national inventory reporting system. Every day we know how much blood is held at each blood bank across the country. This system will support active management of the nation’s blood supplies. Blood can be moved quickly and safely between centres to ensure that it continues to be available when required.

Blood stocks stood up well over the recent holidays. Predictably, stock levels have fallen during the last few weeks, which happens every year at this time. Supplies remain adequate but NZBS is keen to build up supplies in advance of the introduction of a new donor policy.

This policy is in line with that of the US FDA and Health Canada, and supported by New Zealand recipient groups such as the Haemophilia Foundation of New Zealand and the KIDS Foundation. It is a precautionary step to safeguard blood supplies against the theoretical risk that variant CJD, a new form of Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease, might be transmitted through blood transfusions.

NZBS will be introducing a new national donor questionnaire to identify donors affected by the new policy. This will be supported by new and comprehensive guidelines on donor assessment.

The blood supply in New Zealand is acknowledged to be amongst the safest in the world. The New Zealand Blood Service is committed to introducing appropriate safety measures to ensure that New Zealand is served by a world class Blood Service.


To interview Dr Peter Flanagan, NZBS National Medical Director, please ring Bill Moore, PRaxis Public Relations Ltd, 09 373-5068 or 025-769-654.


On 1 July 1998, the separate and fragmented, hospital-based system for supplying blood services and blood products across the country was replaced by the single structure of the New Zealand Blood Service. NZBS was given responsibility for the nation's entire blood service.

Today, Blood Centres in Auckland, Hamilton, Rotorua, Tauranga, Gisborne, Palmerston North, Wanganui, Hutt Valley, Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin are under the NZBS umbrella. These Centres collectively account for more than 85% of New Zealand’s blood supplies. NZBS will continue to contract with HHSs and other Blood Centres until all centres have integrated with NZBS over the next six months.

New Zealand has one of the safest blood supplies in the developed world.

Blood Facts

 Approximately 153,000 units of blood will be collected in New Zealand this year
 There are 120,000 “active” donors who have donated in the last two years
 New Zealanders need 2,943 units of blood every week
 Just 4% of people donate annually, but 80% may need blood at some time
 Healthy people between 16-70 and weighing at least 50-55kgs can donate
 Whole blood can be donated every 12 weeks (and lasts 35 days)
 All blood collected in New Zealand is from volunteer donors
 Every blood donation is tested for HIV, Hepatitis B and C and Syphilis.

Blood products and their uses

Blood is most commonly used by: cancer patients; victims of burns and trauma; those who’ve undergone routine surgery; and new mums and their babies. Blood products used most frequently include:

 Red Cells - Used for the transfusion of patients who have lost substantial blood or who, due to their illness, cannot make their own
 Platelets - Patients with low platelet counts often suffer from leukaemia or have received a bone marrow transplant. Platelets help control bleeding
 Plasma - The straw coloured liquid part of your blood in which the red cells, platelets and white cells are suspended. Plasma or its constituents can be used to treat many health problems including: bleeding disorders such as haemophilia; hepatitis; measles; and chicken pox. It is also used during some operations and for serious burns.

NZBS February 2000

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