HEALTH chiefs have called for fit and healthy people in Dorset to keep donating blood as normal during the coronavirus outbreak.

The NHS has put in extra safety measures at blood banks and donation centres, with extra cleaning and triaging of everyone that arrives.

Blood donations have dropped in recent weeks, according to the NHS, but hospital stocks are currently good because of the cancellation of routine operations.

A spokesman for NHS Blood and Transplant said: "We need people to keep donating to make sure we can keep supplying the blood hospitals need in the coming weeks and months.

"Patients and doctors are relying on us to be there.”

The spokesman also said people have been contacting blood banks asking if sessions are still going ahead.

"We need them to know that our sessions and donor centres are still open and that travel to a blood donation sessions is essential for the NHS," they said. "Blood donation is a reason to do something amazing. Blood donation saves lives."

The service is asking donors to follow the latest advice on the NHS blood donation website and app.

The spokesman said: "We need people in Dorset who are fit and healthy to keep donating as normal during the coronavirus outbreak.

"We've put extra safety measures in place and safety is always our number one priority.

"We’re now doing extra cleaning and this week we’ve started triaging everyone who arrives so only people with no risk factors can enter the donation area."

the spokesman also confirmed that the situation is being regularly reviewed in consultation with the Department of Health and Social Care, PHE, and the UK’s other blood donation services.

"Donations have dropped though our stock levels are currently still good because hospitals are cancelling routine operations," said the spokesman.

n there is a permanent blood donation centre in Poole at Boots The Chemist, The Dolphin Centre, 190-196 High Street, Poole, Dorset, BH15 1SX.

n to make appointment to donate or for more information, call 0300 123 23 23, download the NHS Give Blood app, or visit www.blood.co.uk