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07 October 2021

Five reasons donations dip in autumn


We can’t deny it any longer. We’ve dug out the car scraper, there’s a nip in the air and the nights are fair drawing in. Summer is officially over and winter is sneaking up.

Blood and platelet donations are essential all year round to support patients in hospital. Yet, did you know that donations can decrease by up to 20% in the colder months?

Here are our top five reasons why donations can dip in autumn.

Daylight saving

Shorter days and less sunlight can take a big hit on our energy levels. This can mean it’s that bit harder to drag yourself out of bed in the morning – and it can also impact on the number of people coming to our sessions. We know it might not seem appealing to leave your cosy home and venture out into the dark, blustery night to give blood, but we are so grateful to everyone who makes that extra special effort. Big shout out to those committed folk who give up their space on the sofa to become lifesavers.

Everything's a bit... different

Covid has brought a lot of change, and giving blood is no exception. Unfortunately you can no longer bring kids to sessions (even in the October holidays - sorry), but there are also a few other differences to be aware of:

  • If you've had the vaccine as part of the UK vaccination programme, you can book in to give blood eight days after your jab.
  • Giving blood is classed as an essential activity.
  • You need to make an appointment to give blood at any donation session in Scotland.
  • We ask you to please come alone (or with a household member who is also donating) so we can keep to social distancing regulations.
  • We ask that donors please wear masks throughout the session (although be aware that for monitoring purposes, they will need to be removed for health check and while donating)
  • We will take your temperature as part of the Covid-19 triage process
  • Please try to come no earlier than five minutes before your appointment. This helps reduce queues.
  • We are open, but our sessions are subject to change.
  • We will get in touch if there are changes to your session, but please check before coming to donate.

Viral nasties

Coughs, colds, flu, sickness bugs – yuk. While it’s possible to be affected by these all year round, they seem to be particularly common at this time of year. If you’re feeling a bit under the weather, it’s best to take a break from giving blood. For coughs and colds we ask you to wait until you’re recovered and feeling well. For sickness, diarrhoea and other infections you must make sure you’re fully recovered for at least two weeks. Our medical team are happy to help with any questions you might have about our medical criteria. Please contact us or give us a ring on 0345 90 90 999.

Good telly

Believe it or not, if there’s something particularly good on the box, it can affect how likely people are to come and give blood. A big football match, a particularly juicy storyline on Corrie or even the Great British Bake-Off final can have a real impact how many people walk through our doors. If our opening times conflict with your viewing schedule we recommend the following steps:

  • Record or make sure your favourite programmes are on catch-up
  • Avoid spoilers by switching off your social media
  • Give blood
  • Binge watch without guilt as a reward for saving lives

Scottish weather

The temperature difference between Scottish summer and Scottish winter may only be about 5°C, but winter in Scotland certainly brings its own challenges. We work hard to make sure all sessions go ahead as scheduled, but Mother Nature can throw the occasional curve ball. We will only cancel a session due to the weather as a last resort, and if it has been judged too dangerous to ask people to travel. We make sure our website session finder, Facebook and Twitter pages are updated with the relevant info and that all donors invited to the session are directly informed about the changes as soon as possible. To make sure there is no delay contacting you, please give us your up to date contact details.

  • Any questions?  Get in touch - we'd love to help.  Call us on 0345 90 90 999, or give us a shout online.

Current blood stock levels across Scotland Thursday 09 December

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