A number of constituents have contacted me about the Anthony Nolan "Who Cares" campaign about stem cell donation.
With over 2,000 people a year across the UK requiring a bone marrow or stem cell transplant, it is vital that more people are encouraged to register as potential stem cell donors. As such, I welcome the joint action of Anthony Nolan and our NHS to increase the number of registered donors.
Since 2011, the Department of Health and Social Care has provided more than £26 million to NHS Blood and Transplant and to Anthony Nolan, to improve stem cell donation, and is now establishing a unified UK stem cell registry.
As of 2020, the number of people registered as a potential donor across the UK stood at more than 1.9 million, more than double the 770,000 registered in 2010. While I welcome this significant progress, I also recognise the importance of registering more donors from minority ethnic backgrounds, in order to improve equity of access to the provision of stem cells for patients from minority ethnic backgrounds. That is why I am encouraged that, since 2014 the proportion of donors in the UK registry from black and minority ethnic backgrounds has gone up from 11 per cent to 14 per cent: during 2018, 22 per cent of people who registered were from black and minority ethnic groups. I also understand that, while young men make up around 15 per cent of the register, they are responsible for between 54 and 58 per cent of donations. I am pleased that in 2020-21, the Department of Health and Social Care's stem call programme provided funding of £620,000 which included recruitment and genotyping of prospective donors from ethnic minority backgrounds.
I would certainly be happy to raise awareness and would encourage my constituents to register as stem cell donors: you can find out more about the process here.