Figures from NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT) show that there are around 1,900 regular plasma donors at their donor centre in Twickenham and around 1,200 more are needed over the next year.
Plasma donation resumed two years ago after a break of more than 20 years when it was halted as a safety precaution against the spread of Creutzfeldt Jakob Disease (vCJD).
Research conducted by NHSBT shows that most people are willing to give plasma but many don’t know if they are eligible.
Plasma donation is similar to blood donation and takes around 35 minutes. The procedure involves a patient's blood being gradually run through a machine which separates out the plasma.
The donor’s plasma contains antibodies, which help to strengthen or stabilise the patient’s immune system.
Antibodies are made into medicines including immunoglobulin, which was delivered to 3,788 people in London last year. It does not need to be matched by blood type.
NHSBT said that plasma donations would help shore up future immunoglobulin supplies, and reduce how much the NHS has to buy on the international market.
Pamela Antoinette, Twickenham Plasma Donor Centre Operations Manager, said: “Many people don’t realise that they could donate but our amazing donors come from all walks of life.
“If you’re aged 17-65, fit and healthy, regardless of your blood type you could become a lifesaving plasma donor.
“Most people can donate plasma – and it feels great to provide life-saving medicines.”
Dr Naim Akhtar, Consultant Haematologist and Lead in Donor Medicine, said: “You have a medicine in you which helps babies’ hearts, adds antibodies, improves the immune system, prevents paralysis - it’s amazing, life-saving plasma.
“If you’re not sure if you can donate, check out our website and book your appointment today – most people who come to their first appointment can donate.”