Celebrating one year of supporting blood donation

Publication date 21 February 2022

St John Scotland volunteers have marked one year of supporting blood donation sessions across the country. 

The partnership began as a result of the Covid pandemic, which saw pressures across the health service, and also meant the need for enhanced screening and safety measures of blood donors at donation sessions. 

Since 18 January 2021, St John Scotland volunteers have supported 1,100 sessions everywhere from Dumfries to Wick, contributing more than 3,500 volunteering hours.  

Photo of two medical professionals standing outside of a blood bank

Our volunteers help at the sessions by greeting donors as they arrive, running through a series of Covid screening questions, checking donors’ temperatures and ensuring hygiene and distancing measures are followed. 

It’s support which means clinical staff can focus on helping blood donors and ensuring the sessions run smoothly. 

Ramsay McGhee, chair of St John Scotland’s team of volunteers in the Highlands and a regular blood donation volunteer, said: “We have seven regular volunteers supporting sessions across the Highlands. Much of our volunteering is in Inverness, where the Blood Transfusion Service in the Highlands is based, but we also do our best to cover the sessions elsewhere, in locations such as Wick, Kyle of Lochalsh, Golspie, Nairn, Grantown, Dingwall, Fortrose, Buckie and Elgin." 

He continued: “It has been a worthwhile exercise in so many ways, getting us out and about during lockdown, getting to know the Highland SNBTS staff, all of whom have been very welcoming and appreciative of what we do. 

“Having the opportunity to interface with members of the public, many of whom we know from former times, has been very rewarding and enjoyable.” 

Dr Sylvia Armstrong-Fisher, Head of Donor Service (Northern Arch) from SNBTS said: “SNBTS are indebted to the St John Scotland volunteers for their support over the past year with triage of donors attending sessions in our major cities and community venues across Scotland.   

“They are truly amazing, valued members of our team, providing that all important initial welcome and temperature check of our donors with a calm professional manner. With their assistance, we have been able to ensure prospective donors are fit and well before entering the session and adhere to our Covid 19 safety measures to safeguard everyone.” 

St John Scotland has committed to supporting the service on an ongoing basis, while ever Covid restrictions mean extra support is required. 

Ramsay added: “It has been an absolute privilege to work with the team at SNBTS and we look forward to supporting them for as long as is necessary.” 

Find out more about giving blood at www.scotblood.co.uk