In addition to the stringent requirements of the Blood Safety and Quality Regulations (2005) that always apply to blood donation, the WHO has provided guidance to blood services on how we should maintain a safe and adequate blood supply during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Specifically, they advise that the guidance that public health bodies provide for health care settings does not apply to blood donation sessions that occur away from a hospital setting. All of our donation settings, including those at headquarters in Belfast, occur away from a hospital. More on the WHO advice can be found at https://www.who.int/publications-detail/maintaining-a-safe-and-adequate-blood-supply-during-the-pandemic-outbreak-of-coronavirus-disease-(covid-19)
The WHO advises that the public health advice for the general population applies to blood and platelet donation sessions. Currently, in the UK, the public health advice is that members of the public are not required to wear any form of personal protective equipment (PPE) as they go about their daily lives.
Additional Safety Measures: what you can do to keep everyone safe
We have completed detailed risk assessments of the donation process particularly at those points in the donation journey where it is impossible to maintain social distancing of two metres. We have put in place additional measures to ensure that donors and staff remain safe during donation. Some measures we will ask you as donors to follow.
Dos and Don’ts
- make an appointment to donate
- check that you meet the basic criteria to donate; see https://nibts.hscni.net/donating-blood/can-i-donate/
- In light of current infection rates, we kindly request that donors wear a face mask when attending to donate.
- ensure good hand hygiene by washing or sanitising your hands when you arrive at the donation session
- maintain cough and sneeze etiquette by using a clean tissue to catch your cough or sneeze, disposing of the tissue and washing or sanitising your hands immediately. If you don’t have a tissue (these will be provided on session) please cough or sneeze into the crook of your free arm
- attend for donation alone
- attend unless you have an appointment
- attend if you or someone in your household has been unwell for any reason (including tummy bugs or common cold) in the past 14 days
- attend if you have active hayfever or allergy symptoms including a runny nose and watering eyes
- bring children under 17 years of age with you when you donate
AT THE DONATION SESSION
Please note we are still observing social distancing at sessions and the donation suite,
- At this time, only donors will be able to access the donation area. We kindly ask that any friends or family who accompany you wait outside the donation venue for you
- Once inside the donation session, waiting area chairs will be arranged so you can sit slightly separated from other donors. Please do not move the chairs closer together!
- Children aged 16 and under will not be able to enter the donation session and we kindly request that you make alternative arrangements for childcare whilst you donate.
Thank you for your continued support of the Northern Ireland Blood Transfusion Service.
General statement :
We would like to remind all donors that NIBTS has a zero tolerance approach to the abuse of staff. Should staff experience behaviour that they feel is aggressive or abusive, they will ask the individual to leave the session immediately.