This week SNS Group are very excited to once again be supporting the Scottish National Blood Transfusion Service in their #MissingType campaign. Not sure what that is just yet? You’re on the right blog! At SNBTS their key priority is to ensure that NHSScotland has enough blood to meet the transfusion needs of patients in Scotland. They make sure that blood, tissues and cells are available when patients need them. The work they do is crucial but in order for them to succeed we all have to do our part and give blood.
We were lucky enough to share our chat with Gillian Morrison, Donor Recruitment & Publicity Officer at SNBTS. Gillian was kind enough to fill us in on how the #MissingType campaign works as well as tell us loads of interesting information about bloodstock levels in Scotland and how to become a donor.
Have you always wanted to work with SNBTS?
As with most things in my life, I fell into working for SNBTS by accident! I did a film and media degree at university and was always interested in the more creative aspects of the course. I spotted the job advert for working at SNBTS not long after I graduated and felt incredibly lucky to be offered the role. I have now been with SNBTS for nine (very quick) years. No two weeks are ever the same, so the time has whizzed by.
We imagine that working for a life-saving service is massively rewarding but also incredibly busy. What does your role involve?
I work with a team of recruitment officers based throughout Scotland. Our main aim is to ensure that we recruit, retain and engage with blood donors. I keep a very close eye on Scotland’s bloodstock levels and if stocks begin to decrease, I work closely with colleagues to encourage more donors in through the door. This could be through additional mailings, phone calls (I love blethering with donors on the phone!) and also social media posts. I also visit schools throughout South East Scotland and present educational talks to promote blood donation to senior students. A favourite part of my working week is administrating our Facebook and Twitter sites. I love how creative and fast-moving social media can be and am always searching for new ways to highlight giving blood online.
SNS Group has been involved with the #MissingType Campaign various times now. We absolutely love being a part of it to help highlight the need for new A, B, O and AB blood donors. For those who haven’t yet, could you explain how it all works?
Missing Type is an international campaign in which blood services all over the world are taking part in. The idea is simple: on the 11th June 2018, SNBTS have asked brands, organisations and influencers in Scotland to remove the A, B and O (the blood groups) from their branding. This is to highlight the fact the global blood donor pool is decreasing, and we’re missing A, B, O and AB blood donors across the world. We last ran the campaign in August 2016 and it was an extremely fast-paced and exciting week, so we’re looking forward to what 2018’s campaign brings.
We were shocked to find out the number of Scots that do not actually know their blood-type. Where can someone find out this information and what would be your advice to those out there that don’t see this as a priority?
A lot of people in Scotland either don’t know or don’t remember their blood group. If you have never given blood before, there is no need to know your blood group in advance. We will test and type your donation and send out your blood donor card within 10 weeks of giving your first blood donation. Some of my favourite posts on social media are people sharing photos of their shiny new blood donor card. It’s lovely to see people sharing something they are proud of!
It’s important that you remember your blood group as we need to ensure we are collecting enough of the eight different blood types to support patients all over Scotland. Some groups are in more demand than others, and you can learn more about this at www.scotblood.co.uk/about-blood/blood-types/
Since first getting involved with the Missing Type campaign the SNS team have begun to give blood regularly but some took more convincing than others. It can be a pretty scary thought for some people. What motivation can you provide for anyone who is currently still to become a donor?
I totally understand that some people think that giving blood can be a frightening and daunting experience. My colleagues on the collection team are experts at putting donors at ease and will take the best possible care of you. They are great at taking your mind off it, and I frequently get comments on how there is “good banter” at our blood donor sessions.
The vast majority of our donors enjoy giving blood and look forward to when it is time for them to donate again. Giving a donation takes a lot less time than most people think, typically less than 10 minutes. Although remember and leave enough time to indulge in some of the post-donation biscuits we have on offer! On a more serious note, every time you give blood, your donation can be split into three different parts. This means that one donation can save or improve the lives of three patients in a hospital. By taking an hour out of your day to give blood, you really can make a massive difference to someone else’s life.
The Scotblood website is full of information about giving blood as well as amazing stories. One particularly amazing feature is the display of current blood stock levels. Can you explain the importance of people being aware of this information?
Not every blood group can help every patient and SNBTS aims to have six days’ supply of all blood groups at all times. We update our blood stocks page every weekday at www.scotblood.co.uk/about-blood/current-blood-stock-levels/. Our blood stocks do change on a daily basis and one patient requiring multiple transfusions can have a dramatic impact on supplies. Therefore it is important that every donor keeps an eye on our blood stocks page and arranges to give blood when a stock of their group dips below the six-day level. If stocks of particular blood group decrease below the targeted level, you may see us asking donors of that type to make an extra special effort to donate. This may be in the form of phone calls, social media posts or radio and television advertising. We are very fortunate in Scotland that our donors are great and will respond quickly when we ask for their help. It’s heart-warming to see blood stocks rapidly improve after we ask donors to come forward.
We really appreciate you talking us through the #MissingType Campaign Gillian, as well as all things blood donation. There’s only one more question left to ask and it is perhaps the most crucial of them all –how do I sign-up to become a blood donor?
You can sign up to become a blood donor here or give us a ring on 0345 90 90 999. We will add all your details to our database and send you information on how to give blood in your area.
We would be delighted to welcome you!
Let’s re-cap those links!
Where do I view current bloodstock levels in Scotland- www.scotblood.co.uk/about-blood/current-blood-stock-levels/
I don’t know my blood-type! How do I find out? www.scotblood.co.uk/about-blood/blood-types/
How do I become a Blood Donor?- https://www.scotblood.co.uk/giving-blood/sign-up-to-give-blood/
I want to follow SNBTS on Social Media, where can I find them?