I first gave blood something like 30 years ago at university. It was easy, it was in the student’s union on the main campus & from memory most the people from the two houses we were living in off campus came along. At the time it was pretty much walk in, wait around, answer the questions/Hb test, donate, have your tea and biscuit the leave. (Tony Hancock has a lot to answer for!)
These days (on the surface) it’s now an appointment rather than walking in. If you turn up just before your time there is very little waiting (Today my appointment was 12:05 and was back home by 12:50) and the rest is the same.
But I love to look a little deeper (it’s the systems and processes part of me, but it’s also a nice distraction), to spot the subtle difference and improvement they make in process and the service.
Some of these changes are to streamline the system, using PDA’s and being walked through the stages by the same Venipuncturist (only learnt that job title today, it’s a specific job) rather than passing bits of paper around and calling your name lots. Individuals using the app to book their next appointment. Text message and email reminders (reducing missed slots).
Others are for your health, the bed (now a reclining chair), drinking water before the donation (to help with recovery), the exercises to increase blood flow (these have changed multiple times over the years, with another new tweak today)
Others are to promote engagement; I honestly get a little lump in my throat when I get a text message telling me where my donation was used!
Saving and Changing Lives
But through all of this the core purpose is to save and change lives. To have a system that supplies blood when needed.
Right now the stocks of blood are low (especially O Neg, which is used in emergencies) https://hospital.blood.co.uk/business-continuity/blood-stocks/ without good supplies emergencies situations become more fragile and planned operations can get cancelled.
Giving blood is import to me, for many reasons, so It’s something I do as often as I can (every 12 weeks ish).
Do you give blood?
If not please consider signing up to donate here https://my.blood.co.uk/preregister