A HOSPITAL trust is calling on the community to give a present with a difference to mark the 70th birthday of the NHS.

Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust hopes people will consider giving blood, joining the organ donation register, donating to one of the trust’s charities or joining the team as a member of staff or a volunteer to mark the anniversary.

Alex Whitfield, chief executive of Hampshire Hospitals, which runs hospitals in Andover, Basingstoke and Winchester, said: “We are incredibly grateful for the support we receive from the community we care for.

There are so many ways you can give back to the NHS, and each one can make a remarkable difference to the lives of others. You can donate to one of the hospital charities, or join the organ donor register, give blood, or join our team as either a member of staff or volunteer.

“Whatever you do you will be giving the NHS and Hampshire Hospitals a brilliant birthday present that will make a lasting difference.”

Jane Davies, patient experience and volunteer manager, said: “There is so much to gain from volunteering, from meeting new people and developing new skills, to simply knowing that you have made a positive difference to someone’s day. Our staff, patients and visitors are always so appreciative of the vital support our volunteers provide and we simply couldn’t do what we do without them.

“In this special 70th year we are reflecting on just how important the NHS is and the difference it has made so to be able to give something back to the NHS by volunteering and helping our trust to continue to provide outstanding care to anyone who needs it, is the best birthday present of all.”

Specialist nurse for organ donation for the trust, Laura English, works with families and supports them when their loved one is in a critical condition.

She said: “The decision to donate is life changing for so many people who are awaiting transplants. It’s a privilege to work with courageous families who are making this decision at an incredibly difficult time.”

Giving blood is another way to give back. Most people aged 17 to 68 can donate, and over 6,000 blood donations are needed nationally every day to treat patients.

For more, go to hampshirehospitals.nhs.uk.