BLOOD, plasma and platelet donors in all Tiers are being urged by the NHS to keep attending appointments as normal if they are fit and healthy.

On Wednesday (December 30) Health Secretary Matt Hancock gave an update to the House of Commons following a review of the Tier system as Covid-19 cases rise across the country.

It was announced that Somerset was to enter Tier 4 of the coronavirus restrictions - with Dorset moving into Tier 3.

Despite this, giving blood and plasma – including in Tier 3 and Tier 4 – is classed as essential travel and donation sessions will stay open, with appointments remaining as normal.

The reminder follows a fresh appeal from NHS Blood and Transplant for blood and platelet donors to make an appointment over the New Year if they don’t already have one.

Donors are also asked to keep to their appointment if they can, to help build blood stocks ahead of a potentially challenging winter period.

Extra safety measures are in place and will work alongside a temperature check for donors on arrival, available hand gel and washing facilities and extra cleaning conducted by staff.

Donors are also spaced apart and face coverings are worn by all.

The only two days of the year that blood donations are not collected is Christmas Day and New Year’s Day.

An extra 1,500 units of blood is currently needed every week and extra appointments have been added across the country to help meet this need.

Permanent donor centres in major towns and cities generally have the best appointment availability.

Donors are reminded to follow all relevant Government transport guidance when making a journey to give blood.

Each donation can save or improve up to three lives.

You can book appointments and check the latest guidance on Covid-19 and giving blood by calling 0300 123 23 23, downloading the NHS Give Blood app, or visiting the website