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Your frequently asked questions

Where can I give blood?

You can give blood in one of our donor centres, in Edinburgh, Glasgow, Aberdeen, Inverness and Dundee. We also collect blood in communities across Scotland. To find out when we're in your area next, go to the homepage and search on your town or postcode.

How often can I give blood?

You must wait at least 12 weeks between blood donations.

Do I need to book an appointment or can I just turn up?

It depends where you are, and on which day - the homepage search will tell you what's available in your area. If you get the chance to make an appointment, go for it. It means you won't have to wait around, and we'll get a better idea of what blood types to expect that day. If appointments aren't available, our team will give you the next available slot. To book an appointment call 0345 90 90 999.

How do I cancel or reschedule an upcoming appointment?

Call us on 0345 90 90 999, email us on nss.snbtsenquiry@nhs.net, or complete the form on the 'Contact us' page.

How long does it take to give blood?

Giving blood takes about an hour, including time for a drink and biscuits.

Will people be there to help when I give blood?

Our team will be there to help you through every step of the process. You can ask our friendly team any question. Nurse Patsy Scouse, Edinburgh Donor Centre, says: 'Our team love working with donors and are here to help you in any way. No question is too silly, and chances are we've been asked it before.'

Is it painful to give blood?

It's not painful to give blood - in fact, many donors say they feel great afterwards. There are minor risks associated with giving blood (including possible bruising, or feeling faint or lightheaded), but our staff will advise you on how to reduce the likelihood of this happening.

How safe is it to give blood?

It's safe to give blood. All blood collection equipment is single use and sterile; only one blood bag is filled with your donation.

What will my blood be tested for?

All donations are tested for infection with hepatitis B, hepatitis C, hepatitis E, HIV, HTLV, and syphilis. We may also test for malaria or West Nile virus.

Can men who have sex with men give blood?

Men who last had oral or anal sex with another man more than 12 months ago are able to give blood if they meet the other blood donor selection criteria. Please see our 'Publications' page for more information about how donor selection criteria affects men who have sex with men.

If the blood I give can't be used, will I be told why?

You will be told if there is a positive result for any of your tests, and we will give you advice.

Do employers give time off for an employee to go and give blood?

We receive excellent support from workplaces across Scotland. Some workplaces allow time off for blood donation, and others organise sessions within their premises.

I want to set up a blood donor session at work. How do I do this?

The key to setting up workplace donation sessions is finding out who the right person is within your organisation. When new organisations approach us, we have information and processes in place to make the process as smooth as possible.

What's the atmosphere like when you give blood?

It's great. We take great pride in our donor sessions, our team love their jobs and each session is full of amazing blood donors - just like you.

What you can do before giving blood

Amazing stories

Read about the people your blood has helped.

Amazing stories

Sign up to save lives

Giving blood is safe, simple and takes only an hour.

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Before and after giving blood

Advice for donors on staying well.

Advice for donors

Current blood stock levels across Scotland

We aim to retain 6 days of stocks at any time in order to meet the requirements of patients in Scotland.

Learn more about blood types