Letter: Blood centres for all make giving simple

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The Independent Online
Sir: It is a shame that your diary note of 26 May, referring to the acute shortage of type O blood in London and the South-east, gave a misleading impression of the facilities for donors in the region.

We are one of three blood transfusion centres covering London and the South-east and we serve a resident population of 3.5 million - much inflated by commuters who travel to work in central London. In order to cater for this potential donor population, we have three static blood donor clinics, all open five or six days a week and including evenings. In addition, we hold 35 mobile blood donation clinics each week, 20 per cent of which operate in the evening or at the weekend to accommodate those donors who cannot donate during the working day.

Your reader in Hampstead was offered the possibility of donation at a time of her choice between 8am and 7.30pm five days a week at our centre in Edgware, which is less than five miles from Hampstead. Alternatively she could donate on her doorstep in September. She could be reassured that her blood will be just as valuable in September as now. In fact, it will probably be more welcome since the recent press interest has produced the expected massive response from the general public in the past 10 days. If your reader finds neither of the alternatives suitable we can offer a choice of mobile blood collection clinics in at least nine different locations within three miles of Hampstead, and a second static clinic open five days per week in the West End of London.

We believe it should be easy for potential volunteers to give blood. This is why we provide such a variety of locations and times for blood donor clinics.

Realistically, it is not possible to provide blood donor clinics at every location each week of the year. We hope that all potential donors will find a clinic to suit them. We are always happy to suggest alternatives given sufficient details.

Yours sincerely,

P. E. HEWITT

Deputy Medical Director

National Blood Transfusion Service

London, NW9

4 June

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