Jonathan Latham is the assistant director at NHS Blood and Transplant in charge of Donor Relationship Services. He will present at the flu fighter conference in Manchester in April 2018.
I joined NHS Blood and Transplant nine years ago following a career in customer marketing for many of the large blue chip private sector organisations such as Sainsbury’s, Legal and General and Aviva.
My responsibility is to make sure that we have enough donors (around 6000 a day) coming in to our donation sessions (around 1500 venues in England) of the right blood mix, to deliver the requirements of hospital blood transfusions.
It’s an interesting challenge as we cannot pay people to give blood so we are totally reliant on the altruistic nature of the general public to come in when we want and where we want - not too many and not too few.
One of the biggest challenges facing the organisation is how we ensure that we have a big enough donor pool from which to meet the hospital demand.
Every year around 16 per cent of donors cease actively giving blood, many for very good reasons such as illness or changes in personal circumstances, and we have to go and find new donors to take their place. This equates to over 200,000 new people coming through our doors every year who are willing to donate for the first time.
So what has this got to do with flu fighting and needles? Well our research has shown that the three main barriers to donors not donating for the first time are:
- fear of needles
- not understanding the process of donation
- not knowing what to do to sign up.
Without giving too much away, my talk at the flu fighter conference will suggest things that can be done to overcome these barriers - both before the new donor gets to our session - but also during the donation.