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Archive for March 28th, 2007

Today I made my first blood donation since arriving in the UK, with the NHS’s Blood Service. Blood donation is important in my family – my parents took my brother and I with them to donate from when we were pretty small, so it was a pretty natural thing to start doing once I was old enough.

When I worked at Evans & Peck back in Sydney, I helped organise our corporate blood donation program – and had some success in increasing our corporate participation. I find most people (other than those who are ineligible due to the organisational criteria, or are unable to stay conscious when around blood/needles) get into it when you organise it for them, and when they have mates to go along.

If you can, you should give blood in either Australia or the United Kingdom (or wherever else you live) – blood donation is important, and of course saves lives.

So how does the mobile blood donation unit in EC1 compare with the Red Cross’s Blood Bank in Chatswood, Sydney?

Service/Atmosphere: Surprisingly, the NHS’s Blood Service team were very efficient – faster that the Chatswood ladies by at least 10 minutes. I was in and out of there (not that it’s a race, but I know I beat Smithers last year at least once) in less than an hour, which makes it an easy thing to do in a lunch hour. Also, there are heaps of locations, several I could walk to from my desk, so that’s convenient. However, the staff were reserved, avoided both eye contact and conversation, and generally ungrateful and unfriendly. Not rude mind, or unprofessional, but perhaps some more positive behaviour would encourage others to donate (or do the other donors like this??) ~ 3 & 1/2 stars

Food/Drink: We’re not in Chatswood anymore – no milkshake, no Le Snac, and unlike the Sydney branch, no hot food. In true Brit-cuisine style, there were crisps (salty enough to suck any remaining moisture from your body) and biscuits, with tea and cordial (but there might be a funny Pommy word for this…orange flavour in a polystyrene cup) ~3 stars

Overall: I did enjoy participating in my community, and certainly got through quite a bit of this week’s Economist (and my blood is absolutely gold, btw) – even though I didn’t get quite the same ego-stroking (either because the stocks are much higher here, due to less stringent criteria or less ready-to-use-blood surgery spots?), the people who need blood here are no less dear. I’ll still be back. ~ Totally inflated 4 stars so you’ll still think about doing it…

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