Before having children I started giving blood – and also signed up to the bone marrow register. I managed to donate blood six times before I had to stop due to pregnancy and breastfeeding. I’ve always wanted to give blood, to give something back and to do my bit to help people and I’m now at the point where I can have time by myself for long enough to go and donate again.
So, I dug out my blood donation card with my donor number on it and I tried to sign into the website but sadly a system update meant I had to reregister – but the National Blood Service staff were really helpful, updated all my details – as I had got married and moved house since I last donated – and gave me the information I needed to register again.
I registered and immediately loved the new website – it’s so much more intuitive than it had been a few years back. But then I searched for an available appointment to give blood.
The website searches for the nearest venues within 3-4 miles of where you live – further I guess if you live in a rural area – and tell you the next available date. When I searched for an appointment the next blood donation session was about 15 days away but, when I looked for an appointment they were fully booked.
I looked at other locations and they were all fully booked. They all had limited walk in availability but, with a job, a blog, two children and a shift working husband I can’t walk in to the venue and sit and wait. I need an appointment to fit my life around it and so I booked the next available appointment.
On 24th January.
When I go and give blood I can only donate every four months and yet, to donate for the first time I have to wait over three months. Is it just me that thinks that’s crazy?
I thought, and still think, that the country needs people to donate blood. There are people having transfusions every day and the blood supply could run out if people don’t keep donating. But, for people like me to donate there needs to be the appointment availability to be able to go and donate.
I have to wait three months to donate and in that time I could already donated, only having to wait an extra month before donating for a second time. Yet, those three months are wasted and if it’s the same for everyone else registering to give blood, to go and try and do a good deed, that’s a lot of blood that the blood bank is missing out on. I just hope that the three month – or longer in some cases – wait doesn’t make people decide against donating, put it off for even longer or wait until nearer the time only to find that there’s a four, five or six month wait when they get around to trying again.
If the National Blood Service want people to donate they need to make it more accessible, they need to have more sessions or more appointments available at the sessions. I know, budgets etc. But, blood is a pretty critical thing, isn’t it? Plus, you can’t grow it, make it or buy it. You need people, people willing to spend just a few minutes giving blood and I am sure if it was easier more people would do it.
My appointment is booked for January, I just wish I could give blood sooner.