Social distancing might keep us apart but the Scottish National Blood Transfusion Service are finding new ways of keeping in touch.
Over the last few months, we (like all organisations) have been adapting to the realities of lockdown. Our give blood sessions are now socially distanced, with as many office staff as possible working from home. However, it has also presented problems - in particular, the ability to get out and meet the 17 year old who we hope will become Scotland's newest blood donors.
The talk was really engaging, and made it clear how vital blood donation is. It reminded me that any one of us could need a blood transfusion at some point.
Ailsa MacFarlane, High School of Glasgow
Donor Recruiter Fiona Shields says,
'Our school talk programme has always been one of our greatest successes, with recruiters visiting 172 secondary schools across Scotland annually, telling newly turned 17 year olds about their first opportunity to give blood.
'Spending time with school pupils is our chance to tell pupils about how important blood donation really is. It gives us time to answer all the questions first time donors may have, and no matter how big, small or embarrassing - we’re happy just to have a blether.
'Unfortunately, with schools closing their doors early this year we've missed out on speaking to many of these pupils. That's why when the High School of Glasgow told us they were still keen for pupils to hear about the importance for giving blood we realised this was a chance to adapt as a team and move the talk online.
The team's first online school session took place on the 9th of June and was a big success.
Student Ailsa MacFarlane said, 'The talk was presented in a really engaging way, and made it clear how vital blood donation is. It reminded me that any one of us could need a blood transfusion at some point, and so we have a duty to give blood to help others if we are able.'
'The success of the online school session made us wonder if we could try the same format with workplace sessions. While our donor centres and community sessions continue with new social distancing measures, we haven't been able to do the same with workplaces. We were due to visit the Glasgow office of Disclosure Scotland this month and the team were keen to continue to give blood by visiting their local donor centre. They had questions about the new process and some felt a little apprehensive about giving blood during lockdown. Using online streaming services, we were able to chat to them directly explaining how to book appointments, what has changed and putting their minds at ease.
As someone who had only given blood before once and was unsure about the new Covid-19 changes, it was really useful to know what to expect.
Libby Thomas, Disclosure Scotland
Libby Thomas, from Disclosure Scotland agrees the event went well,
'It was really helpful and reassuring - as someone who had only given blood before once and was unsure about the new Covid-19 changes, it was really useful to know what to expect and made my experience giving blood the day after much more straightforward and less scary.'
Virtual talks allow us to keep in contact with the work places which would normally visit our donor centres as group bookings. Dell Technologies even recorded their virtual talk so that staff who couldn't attend could still be informed for their next appointment.
A huge thank you to all the schools, groups and work places who help us to help patients across Scotland.
To arrange a virtual talk for your school or workplace please get in touch online or call us on 0345 90 90 999.
Current blood stock levels across Scotland Tuesday 20 October