‘Red tape’ blamed for deterring people from donating life-saving blood

Bureaucratic red tape is putting people off donating life-saving blood.

That’s the fear of regular donors who say they now face a complicated process to book an appointment to give blood.

Blood donor John Collins

Blood donor John Collins

One donor - former Horsham firefighter John Commins - has been donating blood for more than 50 years but says it is now more difficult than previously.

“It used to be the case that when you gave blood you just made an appointment there and then for your next session,” he said. “Now you have to book an appointment on-line and when you try to, you’re told that no appointments are available. “I thought they were crying out for blood donors. It’s unacceptable really.”

John, 72, used to donate blood every 12 weeks but his last blood donor session was in April and he cannot get another appointment until November.

He said his son used to be a donor but had now given up because of the hassle.

Another donor, a young mum from Storrington, said: “Donors are being given contradictory messages - that they’re desperate for supplies, but then you’re made to feel that they don’t want you when you try to make an appointment.”

A spokesman for NHS Blood and Transplant said that blood stocks were now improving and stocks of O negative were up “thanks to the generosity of those who have responded to the call for more donations,” but that O negative, B negative and Ro donors were still needed. “We appreciate that not everyone will be able to get an appointment at a session or time to suit them. However, we do have lots of unfilled appointments up and down the country every day, and we get around 4,000 people every week cancelling within 24 hours of their appointment so re-checking closer to the time you are able to donate is always worthwhile.

“All donors are important to us - but we are managing stocks of all other blood groups better at the moment so donors who are not O negative, B negative or Ro may have to wait a little longer for an appointment.”