17 January 2010


More blood, always more blood! Blood banks never have enough. In Amsterdam the blood bank welcomed me and sent me letters asking me to please drag along my family members. And I have more than enough, so inspired by Neil who always feels the need to tell me when he goes out to donate (would he be an undercover recruiter?) I went to the Give Blood website, to see if they would accept me as a donor, and if so; where, when and how I could go and leave half a litre of bodily fluids behind. The website is full of persuading messages ("96% of us rely on the other 4% to give blood. Please don’t leave it to someone else"), and also features a "can I give blood?" online test. Which I did. Was I between 17 and 65? Yes. Did I suffer from all kinds of horrible diseases? No. Was I, or did I maintain sexual relationships with, a dirty needle toting prostitute? No. All good. Had I been outside the UK within the last 12 months? Yes. Kablang! No, we do not want your blood. Go away. What?

I expected questions on whether I had spent months on end in areas ravaged by malaria or denggue or whatnot, or perhaps only had spent a few calm responsible days on the other side of the Channel, and that their assessment would depend on my answers to that. No such thing. Rejected! I couldn't believe my eyes, so I did it again. I actually did that test 3 times and indeed, that's just what happens: outside the UK is out. Just like that. Which is silly, as once you're a donor they don't care if you travel abroad, as long as you steer clear from certain hazardous jungles. So why this? Why discourage everyone who goes abroad at least once a year, which would, wild guess, be 90% of the population within the desired age group, if they express their wish to donate blood online? Very strange. I thought it was so strange I gave feedback on the website. We'll see! I don't think they'll change this because some belligerent Dutch girl who likes to think she's camping on the moral high ground bothered to nag about it, but we'll see if they get back to me. And it's not the blood bank's web designer who suffers if I turn my back on them, so I think I'll get back to them, but damn, why did they come up with that in the first place? I hope they respond, explaining it's just a bug in the software, or something like that...

Random late afternoon picture taken around the corner


Hanneke said...

Unless they changed their rules massively in the previous couple of months, it should be a bug in the software! I gave blood while I was in the UK, and although each time I had to write down exactly where I'd been in the previous 12 months, it was never a problem. Not even when I had been to South America.
What about all the people who have been on holiday abroad during the past 12 months, that would exclude nearly everybody :D Just give them a call!

Margot said...

I know, and I have by now booked a date. I'm fairly sure they won't turn me down in person.

And guess what I just heard on the radio. "Your local blood bank runs low on type 0- blood. Come and donate! Don't leave it to others." Or something like that. Tsk. I have 0-. They should really do something about that online test... at least they have acknowledged receipt of the comment. We'll see!

Margot said...

I got a reaction!

"Dear Miss Saher

Thank you for taking the time to make us aware of your concerns. Please accept my sincere apologies for the upset caused by the response given to one of your questions on our online Donor Health Check form.

I appreciate that you did not request a response to your comments, however I would like to inform you that due to feedback such as yours we have now changed the response donor receives if they answer yes to question 23.

It now more accurately states that, unfortunately there might be a chance that you may not be eligible to donate, however if you would like to find out more information please call our helpline service on 0300 123 2323.

Thank you again for bringing this matter to our attention and I hope you can accept our sincere apologies for the disappointment caused. May I take this opportunity that thank you for taking a kind interest in our service.

Yours sincerely

Paddy Nugent
Assistant Director of Business Development"

They still don't just ask where you've been, but it's an improvement anyway. Now let's see if they'll have my blood next week!

Margot said...

And they lived happily ever after. The first pint of blood has been delivered!