Do you WANT my blood?

blood donor

As regular readers will know I’m a blood donor and proud of it. (see HERE & HERE) I have just come back from giving my 157 donation (not all blood) and I’m really upset and angry!

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!

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  • I participated in a study while I was pregnant that had a similar result. Sometimes I think that researchers focus only on the objective, not on the actual process of the study itself. For that, I think they should employ project managers.

  • Jen

    I’m sure it’s disappointing; perhaps look at it this way: people are so interested in this project that blood banks have an abundance of participants and blood now. That doesn’t happen very often.

  • Jackie

    Why do people not understand………nobody wants British blood, and have not wanted it for many years!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • I work for the NHS so I have a love hate relationship with it!

  • Jackie

    I always despair when people say NHSBT sell blood, the Interval study did become over subscribed, and in combination of the staff cuts and sesion stopped it all seems to have gone a bit pear shaped!

  • Yes….interesting. It wouldn’t surprise me if they were selling it too!
    I used to give until I developed Rheumatoid Arthritis. I was about to get my silver medal when they rejected me because of the medication I have to take. This really annoyed me too. I felt so disappointed as used to feel it was so worthwhile.
    Why are we constantly being told that blood supplies are low when people are being turned away??

  • How frustrating – When I used to donate in Holborn (next door to TES) then they would have to turn away dozens of people every time. You had to book way ahead to get a slot – which always puzzled me as they are constantly seeking new donors yet turning people away. They asked me to join this (or a similar?) study but it meant changing donation centre from one that was next door to work and doable in my lunch break to one that was half way across London and would involve taking a half day so I didn’t enrol. I’m glad I didn’t now!

    Well done for all your donations – sorry that this hasn’t worked out though 🙁

  • Interesting Julia. I have been invited to join this study too, but the invitation came just after I had given and apart from checking where I could donate, I haven’t followed it up.
    I had been attending one of the permanent centres, but found that there are possibilities for local donations so had switched to the more convenient location.
    Don’t blame the NHS. It is a wonderful institution that has benefited so many of us, especially women, but do campaign for better communications.

  • I’m sorry to hear this. I don’t give blood myself but I understand the inconvenience. Our calendars are busy and well, I know how that feels. 😉

  • This is very interesting because the last couple of times I have tried to give at my local point it has been too busy and I’ve been unable to donate. I have received letters and texts asking me to attend when I know it is already full. I wonder what is going on that they can’t cope with the numbers of people wanting to donate? Have you tweeted this post to them?

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