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Workplace blood donor sessions under review in the West Midlands
6:00am Saturday 7th September 2013 in Lifestyle
Blood donors in the West Midlands who currently give blood at their place of work in a mobile donation vehicle, known as a ‘bloodmobile’, may be invited to donate somewhere else close to where they live or work from the spring.
There are a large number of blood donation sessions across the West Midlands, including at the fixed site collection centres in Birmingham and Stoke, public sessions in town halls, community centres and other venues, and company-based sessions where donors give blood in a ‘bloodmobile’.
NHS Blood and Transplant is reviewing the programme of work place ‘bloodmobile’ sessions and is considering taking the difficult decision to discontinue this programme in the West Midlands from the spring. If changes are made, affected donors would be invited to give blood at alternative, local blood donation sessions. In the meantime, existing, planned sessions at workplaces will take place as usual.
Donating at work is a convenient way for a lot of people to give blood, however, taking the difficult decision to move away from using the bloodmobiles to collect blood through sessions in town halls, community centres and other local venues would enable NHS Blood and Transplant to collect blood more efficiently.
A bloodmobile session requires three donor carers and a registered nurse to collect 35 units of blood during a five hour session; while a session with nine beds (in a venue such as a church hall or community centre) requires one nurse and 11 staff to collect 135 units in five hours. This means a team collecting blood from a public session can collect nearly four times more blood in one day and collect more units of blood per member of staff at the session, without the high transport costs of running a bloodmobile.
Peter Taylor, regional operations manager for NHS Blood and Transplant said:
“As a public sector organisation we have a responsibility to deliver our services as efficiently and effectively as possible so that more money is available to spend on frontline patient care. We work closely with hospitals so that we collect only what patients need.
“We are looking at whether we can run a more efficient service, which offers local alternatives for workplace donors while still providing hospitals with the blood they need when patients need it..
“We’re extremely grateful to the businesses that welcome our blood collection vehicles and encourage their employees to donate at work. We understand that workplace donors may be anxious about where they will donate in future if we do take the difficult decision to remove the bloodmobile programme from the West Midlands. We are communicating with these donors and businesses to let them know about the review and are reassuring them that any planned sessions will take place and that if changes are made in future, we will work with them to find convenient alternatives close to their home or workplace, whatever they prefer.”
“We would also like to reassure donors who give blood in our permanent blood donor centre in Stoke or Birmingham or public sessions in local venues that their sessions will not be affected by these proposed changes and we encourage them to continue donating at their regular session.
“We would like to thank all donors for their ongoing commitment. Being a donor is incredibly important and, on behalf of the patients for whom we collect blood, we cannot thank you enough. Your support for blood donation is essential in saving and improving the lives of patients.”
NHS Blood and Transplant runs a number of public blood donation sessions across the West Midlands and new donors are always needed to replace those who can no longer donate due to health issues, pregnancy and foreign travel. Those who give blood at the donor centres in Stoke and Birmingham also have the opportunity to join a ground-breaking research study into donation intervals and to potentially donate platelets.
If you are aged between 17 - 65, weighing more than 50 kg (7 stone 12lbs) and in general good health, you could potentially start saving lives by becoming a blood donor. There is no upper age limit for donors who have donated in the last two years. To find out where your nearest session is and to book an appointment visit www.blood.co.uk or call NHS Blood and Transplant on 0300 123 23 23.
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