With only six per cent of the eligible population of Northern Ireland currently donating blood, the Northern Ireland Blood Transfusion Service (NIBTS) are encouraging people to donate as blood donation sessions take place in Enniskillen and Belleek in the upcoming weeks.

The NIBTS exists to fully supply the needs of all hospitals and clinical units in the province with safe and effective blood and blood products and other related services.

A spokeswoman for NIBTS stated: "850 units of blood are used by 500 patients every week, yet 94 per cent of the eligible population don’t give blood. That means of everyone in Northern Ireland who can give blood, only six per cent actually donate."

Highlighting local statistics, the spokeswoman shared that for the Fermanagh and South Tyrone areas the NIBTS collected over 5,500 units of blood in 2019, which is based on an approximation of the venues contained in these areas.

She added: "With one blood donation potentially saving up to three lives, the donations collected in these areas have potentially impacted the lives of over 15,000 patients in Northern Ireland. Giving blood only takes around 45 minutes – you actually only donate for 10 to 15 minutes."

The NIBTS sessions will take place in Enniskillen at St. Macartin's Cathedral Church Hall on January 13 and 14 from 1.30pm to 4pm, and 5.15pm to 8pm. Donation sessions will also take place in Belleek at Wark Hall on January 21 from 2.30pm to 4pm, and 5.15pm to 8pm. Donation criteria and other information can be found on the NIBTS website at www.nibts.org.

"One blood donation can help save the lives of up to three patients," the NIBTS spokeswoman concluded.