HEALTH officials are urging men to donate blood as part of their New Year's resolution.

NHS Blood and Transplant is calling on Southampton men to match women in becoming a blood donor this year.

Figures show that last year 401 women in Hampshire registered to become a blood donor in January compared to only 138 men.

Mike Stredder, director of Blood Donation for NHS Blood and Transplant, said: "It’s vital that more men start donating blood because their blood is used to provide life-saving products like plasma and platelets – to save victims of burns, car crashes and treat to patients with cancer.

"We’re incredibly grateful to all our female donors in Southampton who are vital in providing lifesaving blood to those in need. "But we need men to catch up with recent recruitment because their blood can have different characteristics which can make it important in certain situations.

“It’s more likely that we can use men’s blood to stop bleeding after injury or surgery."

Men’s blood can contain fewer antibodies against red and white blood cells because women often make these antibodies during pregnancy.

This means male blood is often more suitable for creating blood products used to treat patients.

Men also generally have higher iron levels than women, so they are less likely to be turned away from donating.

Factors effecting male donor recruitment are thought to include the greater use of social media campaigns, which are more popular with women.

There are more than 25,500 active blood donors in Hampshire and 4,500 of these give blood at the Southampton donor centre.

Mike added: “Across England, 830,000 people gave blood in 2018.

"This year, we are asking residents in Southampton make a resolution that makes you feel amazing and saves lives.

“We know lots of people often make a new year’s resolution to give blood, but many don’t keep it.

"We need those who have taken the first step and registered to give blood to keep that resolution and make an appointment to donate at Southampton Donor Centre."