BLOOD donors in Ilkley have been told they will have to travel to Otley if they wish to continue to give blood.

NHS Blood and Transplant has written to Wharfedale donors to let them know about changes to local sessions following a review of the blood donor programme. There is a decrease in the demand for blood and NHS Blood and Transplant needs to make sure it only collects what hospitals need.

An initial letter sent out in July informed Ilkley donors sessions would be discontinued at Prince Henry's Grammar School in Otley, which meant they could continue giving blood at sessions held at Ilkley Rugby Club.

However, a second letter sent last month invited them to give blood at the Otley school as sessions would be ended at Ilkley Rugby Club. It has left some local blood donors wondering if they will be able to continue to give blood and questioning the reasoning behind the decision.

A spokesperson for NHS Blood and Transplant told the Gazette and Observer: "We sent letters to all donors to say we were reviewing our blood donation programme in the area. The letters were sent to those who may have been impacted by the review, but unfortunately we made a mistake and put the wrong venue name in the letter when talking about possible closures. We are sorry about this and the confusion it has caused, but we looked into this immediately and solved the problem.

"A further letter was sent once the review was completed to inform donors of changes and the information in these letters was correct."

The spokesperson added affected donors had been invited to give blood at an alternative session but it was appreciated some donors would not want to travel.

Mike Stredder, Director of Blood Donation at NHS Blood and Transplant said: “We are very grateful to all those who give up their time to donate blood. Their generosity helps save and improve the lives of patients across the country.

“Hospital blood use is declining by three to four percent a year and this means that sometimes we need to consider reducing the amount of blood donation sessions that we hold. It’s important that we do not waste precious donations by collecting too much blood.

“While hospitals are using less blood that in previous years, we still need to collect 1.5m units of blood a year. We look forward to seeing our loyal donors at their next donation.”

Every blood donation can save or improve up to three lives and each day NHS Blood and Transplant needs around 6,000 donors to give blood at sessions across England to meet patient need.

While donors from all blood groups are important NHS Blood and Transplant particularly need donors from O negative (the universal blood group), A negative and B negative to donate regularly as stocks of these blood groups are more vulnerable to shortfalls.

More black and south Asian people are also needed to become blood donors to reflect the ethnic diversity of patients.

To find out more about blood donation, visit