Blood Donation in Darlington & Tees Valley

Blood Donation in Darlington & Tees Valley
To provide Members with an update on the current situation regarding blood donation in
Darlington and across Tees Valley.
National blood stock levels have improved dramatically since the turn of the year.
Traditionally, sessions are well supported from the middle part of January through to
February half-term and it is likely that local and national advertising have had a positive
impact also.
Maintaining collection and stock levels remains a priority over the Easter holidays and into
the summer months. The issues of venues, session times and delays on session, highlighted
in our last report are still relevant and although much has been and is being done to improve
the appointment system and reduce waiting times, we are still some way from reaching the
service standards our donors need and deserve.
However, we have already introduced a number of new sessions, both for dedicated groups
and also members of the public. From 2002 to 2007, only one new public session was created
in the region covering all areas south of the Tyne to the North Yorkshire border, the fact that
four have been created in the last three months is evidence of our commitment to reach out
into the community and offer donors choices that better suit their lifestyles.
New Sessions
Locally, we have either held, or have planned sessions at the following locations:
Darlington College
Queen Elizabeth College, Darlington
Darlington Football Club
Wolviston Village, Billingham
Easterside, Middlesbrough
We are currently investigating the possibility of visiting the following:
Stockton-on-Tees Council (at Baptist Tabernacle)
Middlesbrough Council
In addition, we are continuing to build relationships with local communities to help us to
gain a better understanding of what donors (and potential donors) want from the National
Blood Service. We have especially strong links in Darlington, not only through this
Committee, but with working alongside Darlington FC and also we are in contact with
Council Community Development Workers and Darlington Community Partnerships.
We are hoping to become more involved with similar organisations across Tees Valley and
use the knowledge and understanding we gain to look at our session programme and make
any changes that we think will encourage more people to support the work we do. These
changes range from different times, days of the week, venues or even brand new sessions.
We are now using St Cuthbert’s Church once again. Our staff spent a day in the town
meeting and talking to existing and prospective donors in advance of our first return visit
and the session performed well as 78 donations were collected (20% more than expected).
However, we still feel there is a need for a more modern central venue to complement
available sessions across the town.
There has not been much progress here. We have not been able to find a suitable alternative
venue as yet and although donors continue to support us in the town, there is much work to
be done to improve our programme.
Attendances at St Cuthbert’s have picked up recently, but we place a heavy reliance on a
central location, where parking can be an issue. Ongoing work with local groups and
organisations should help us offer a more dedicated programme, by reaching out into the
communities, rather than asking donors to come to us.
The improvement in attendances in encouraging, but not altogether unexpected. The key is
to maintain collection levels through the traditionally much quieter periods of the year. We
feel that progress is being made to improve our programme of sessions in certain parts of the
region covered by the Committee, although we accept that on-session delays are still an issue
that needs to be addressed if we are going to meet the needs of our donors.
Richard Kirby, National Blood Service, Donor Relations Manager
 0191 2194568