NHS Blood and Transplant is calling for more people to donate in Hertfordshire.

Regular donations are crucial to saving and improving the lives of patients with cancer, blood disorders and those suffering medical trauma or undergoing surgery.

Some 4,458 new volunteers came forward to donate blood for the first time in Hertfordshire last year, 10 per 1,000 of the estimated number of people between the ages of 17 and 70 living there.

While 54 per 1,000 people are active donors in Hertfordshire.

And 24,052 people living in Hertfordshire donated blood at least once last year, saving or improving up to three lives each time they did so.

NHS Blood and Transplant needs new donors to fill the gaps left by existing donors who are not able to give blood at this time and to ensure that we have the right mix of blood groups to match patients’ needs.

Jon Latham, assistant director for donor services and marketing at NHS Blood and Transplant, said: "We simply can’t ignore the fact that there has been a stark reduction in the number of new donors coming forward - a trend seen across the world.

"We know that people’s lives have got busier over the last decade. People are working longer hours, commuting further, spending more time online and have less time of their own, despite more options of how to use it.

"Giving blood is an amazing thing to do. If you live in Hertfordshire and haven’t donated before, please help us reverse the decline in new donors. We run a number of sessions in the area.

"Please go to www.blood.co.uk, find out if you’re eligible to donate, register as a donor and book an appointment today.

"Giving blood is simple and easy to do and will only take about an hour of your time. It could literally be a matter of life and death for somebody else."

Over 17s can visit www.blood.co.uk or call 0300 123 23 23 to find out if they are eligible to donate, register as a blood donor and to book your appointment.