NHS Blood and Transplant has declared its first-ever amber alert status as blood supplies drop critically low.

The service said overall blood stocks in the NHS stood at 3.1 days, but levels of O type blood have fallen to below two days.

O negative blood is the universal blood type which can be given to everyone. It is vitally important during emergencies and when the blood type of the recipient is unknown.

Existing O negative and O positive donors are now being asked to book in at blood donor centres to give blood.

Around one in seven people have O negative blood.

Air ambulances and emergency response vehicles carry O negative supplies for emergencies.

The current amber alert is also thought to be due to ongoing staffing issues, with more staff needed to work at donor sessions.

:: You can register to give blood and book an appointment at www.blood.co.uk/

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