New Zealand Blood Service starts plasma donations at its North Shore Donor Centre

Most people have heard of giving blood, but increasingly it is donations of a single component of blood that New Zealand Blood Service (NZBS) requires.  The need for plasma, the pale yellow component of blood also known as ‘liquid gold’, is increasing in New Zealand at a rate of over 13% year on year, with demand almost outstripping supply.

To meet the growing demand New Zealand Blood Service will be opening its North Shore Donor Centre for plasma donations from Tuesday 8th December 2015.

North Shore residents currently giving plasma at the Auckland Donor Centre in Epsom are invited to donate at the Donor Centre on Lake Road in Takapuna.   It is hoped that extending the plasma donation service to the North Shore will be more convenient for existing donors who currently travel to Epsom, and encourage more people in the surrounding areas to consider donating plasma.

“We’re excited about this change and very happy that plasma donation has arrived on the Shore.  We have received many requests from our wonderful donors for this service to be brought to the North Shore,” said NZBS Area Manager Anne Abbott. “While donating plasma takes a bit longer in the donation chair than donating whole blood, it is such a vital gift. Not only does it improve the quality of life for thousands of Kiwis including cancer patients, burn victims, and people with blood disorders and immune deficiencies, it also, quite simply, saves lives.”

NZBS is also encouraging whole blood donors to think about making the switch to plasma donation. The criteria for becoming a plasma donor are a little different from those for whole blood donors.  As not all blood donors can meet the additional height and weight criteria required, donors who do are being urged to step forward.

A plasma donation takes around 60 minutes. A special machine is used to collect blood in the same way as a whole blood donation, then a process called apheresis is used to separate out the plasma, and return the red blood cells and platelets to the donor using the same needle. Plasma donors can replace the plasma proteins over a few days, meaning that they can donate more frequently. As well as fresh frozen plasma to help trauma patients, plasma is also used to create over 13 different life-saving products.

Plasma donations can be made from Tuesday 8th December 2015 - by appointment only, on Tuesdays 10.30am to 5.30pm and Thursdays 12pm to 6.45pm. To book an appointment or to find out more about becoming a plasma donor please call 0800 GIVE BLOOD (0800 448 325).

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