Do you WANT my blood?
When I began my relationship with blood giving, I think I attended about every 6 months. With the passage of time and research, it is now possible to give more often. The NHS Blood and Transplant have embarked on a two year research project INTERVAL to see just how often individuals can donate. The intention is to see if shorter periods of time are possible which will produce more blood stock to be used in our hospitals and elsewhere (platelets are sent to soldiers in Afghanistan).
Well, you know me Dear Reader – I signed up! A blood sample was taken to see what my ‘interval’ of donating should be. I was told that it was 12 weeks. I felt really pleased that I would be able to give more often. Being a blood donor is something very special to me. When I received all the details, it was made clear that this would need a committment every 12 weeks.
I set about marking up my diary so that every twelfth week was kept free of any holidays or other events. Again, you all know that I’m a busy lady. Well, today I went along, gave my donation, had a coffee and some crisps and went to book my next appointment with diary open at the appropriate week.
‘I can give you an appointment in 15 weeks’, says the receptionist. ‘What?’ says I. ‘I’m supposed to come every 12 weeks’. ‘We have had so many people come forward that we haven’t got enough slots available,’ was the matter of fact reply.
As it turns out my next appointment will actually be 16 weeks as I have things booked. I feel VERY angry about this. I have made a commitment but that is no longer needed. It is totally pointless me being part of the study. I might as well go back to my normal donation schedule.
It is wonderful that more people have come forward and are now providing such a worthwhile service but what was the point of setting out to do a study and not thinking it through? Surely the NHS should have worked out what their capacity was before launching a campaign to get folks signed up to INTERVAL? They wanted 50,000 but how many can they cope with?
It has left a very unpleasant taste in my mouth and because it is a special part of my life I feel very upset. It is not the fault of the team that provide support and a welcome to me when I go along. It is the fault of the monolith that is the NHS. I don’t give blood for the thanks but after so many years and pints I was hoping for more consideration. If they have got the numbers so wrong, what else may not have been thought through? Perhaps those negative voices that criticize the health service are right!