I believe it is highly important to increase the number of stem cell (cord blood and bone marrow) donors in the UK, so I understand and welcome the vital work undertaken by Anthony Nolan.
Bone marrow donors are recruited by NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT) and the partner charity, Anthony Nolan. Anthony Nolan and NHSBT work together to run a number of nationwide initiatives and campaigns to raise awareness of the need for donors and to increase the numbers of people signing up to become donors. You may be interested to know that last year, the register reached over one million registered donors for the first time.
I am reassured to know that this year the Government has announced an extra £3 million in additional funding for stem cell services, part of £19 million in additional investment that the Government has committed since 2010 to improve the provision of cells in the UK. This funding will be used towards encouraging young adult donors as well as those from under-represented populations, such as black, Asian and ethnic minority communities who find it difficult to secure a suitable match.
I am encouraged that the number of stem cell transplants has increased from 800 in 2010-11 to over 1000 in 2013-14, representing approximately 130 additional lives being saved each year in the last five years.
This has only been possible because the Government has taken the difficult decision to reduce the deficit whilst continuing to increase funding in the NHS. This will help to secure a better future for Britain, where people can be confident that their NHS will be there for them.
I am glad to see Anthony Nolan continuing to work with the NHS on this important issue.