In SNBTS, our collection planning teams work 12 to 18 months in advance to schedule sessions in order to carefully match supply with demand.
In the last six years the demand for blood in Scotland has reduced by more than 20% due to continued improvements in transfusion practice and supply chain management.
This is very positive news for the people of Scotland. Additionally, the main component of blood has a shelf life of only 35 days so it is important that we make the best use of the donors’ gift.
SNBTS has therefore reduced the amount of blood collected overall in order to avoid outdating of blood components. Consequently we require fewer collection sessions, so you may notice we are not visiting certain towns and villages as often as we have in the past.
For more remote and rural areas of Scotland, other factors influence session planning. Every donation must be returned to our central processing centre under strict temperature controlled conditions within 22 hours of the first donation of the day. When the distances are long and logistics complex, with a risk of unpredictable adverse weather conditions, there is an increased likelihood that donations will not arrive in time and will therefore have to be discarded.
Taking these risks into account, along with the overall reduction in demand programme, we have made the difficult decision not to plan any further collections on Orkney, Stornoway or Campbeltown at this time.
We are writing to donors in these areas to make them aware of the changes, and to thank them for their continued support. These decisions have been made to ensure that we continue to make the best use of both our donors’ valuable gifts and NHS resources.
These challenges with remote and rural collections do not impact on how processed blood is supplied to these areas. The delivery of tested and processed blood and blood components are not subject to the same time restrictions, and can be more readily transported by air.
We would like to thank all our donors for their understanding in this matter.