One million people now registered with one of the world’s largest online blood donation appointment booking services

Monday, 01 Feb 2016

One million people across England and North Wales are now registered to book donation appointments online, making it one of the largest digital booking systems of any blood service in the world.

Our easy-to-use online service makes it easier for blood donors to book appointments to give blood and save lives.

The project to create this service was part of NHS Blood and Transplant’s ongoing strategy to deliver a world class blood service that is responsive and attractive to donors.

During the last 12 months alone the service has seen 725,000 active users making appointments online and since its introduction in November 2013:

  • the service has been used to book almost 1.5 million blood donation appointments
  • there has been over three million digital transactions with registered donors 
  • there has been a 3% increase in attendance from donors at session who book via the online service

The move from donors making provisional bookings online that often required a call back or further email correspondence to secure a booking, to a modern, personally managed service is timesaving and easier for donors. People can register as a donor online, arrange, amend or cancel their own appointments and update their personal details. They can also share their experiences of giving blood on Facebook from the site, helping to promote donation among their friends.

Ian Trenholm, Chief Executive of NHS Blood and Transplant, said:

“This system is proof that NHS Blood and Transplant is a world leading blood service, using digital technology to deliver better services for our vitally important donors. As well as providing an improved service, it is bringing financial savings too. Since we introduced this service, we have saved £1.2 million thanks to a reduction in transactions through our contact centre and a reduction in print costs with donors viewing their welcome pack online and managing their own records.

“Donors are still able to use the contact centre to book appointments, but we hope that the success of the online appointment booking system will encourage more donors to register online and begin using this as a reliable and quick route to booking appointments to give blood.

“Our digital ambition doesn’t stop here – we are continuing to invest in technology across our operations, aimed at improving the donor experience even further.”

As part of NHS Blood and Transplant’s modern digital service, donors also have the ability to download a Mobile app to allow self-service appointment booking, with 150,000 donors downloading it already and over 45,000 donors using the app in the last month.

Jane Ellison, Public Health Minister said:

“This is a great example of how modern technology can be used to help save lives, improve efficiency and make things easier for those who want to give back."

“It’s an impressive milestone and one we hope to build on. Giving blood is so important and can make the difference between life and death.”

NHS Blood and Transplant plans its donation sessions in line with patient needs, increasing efficiency, while providing a good service to donors. A benefit of the online booking system is an increase in donor attendance rates at sessions from those who booked online, helping the organisation to maximise the effectiveness of blood collection at sessions.

To find out more visit https://www.blood.co.uk/using-your-online-account/ or contact the donor helpline on 0300 123 23 23.

Ends

  • For additional media enquiries please contact the NHS Blood and Transplant press office by calling 01923 367600 or email pressoffice@nhsbt.nhs.uk
  • For out of hours enquiries please call 0117 969 2444

Notes to editor

  • NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT) is a joint England and Wales Special Health Authority. Its remit includes the provision of a reliable, efficient supply of blood and associated services to the NHS in England and North Wales. It is also the organ donor organisation for the UK and is responsible for matching and allocating donated organs
  • Donors can search for sessions, change their contact details, book appointments and change/cancel their appointments in real time on www.blood.co.uk
  • Younger donors are always needed to replace those who can no longer donate and 64% of our registered online appointment service users are female; with the 25-34 year old age group the keenest adopters.
  • It’s also vital NHSBT collects the right blood mix to enable people from all ethnic backgrounds to get the right blood match and 3.3% of online appointment service registrants come from a BAME background
  • There are apps available for Android, Windows and Apple Smartphone and tablet devices which enable donors to search for sessions based on your location, book and manage appointments
  • NHSBT’s donor line - 0300 123 23 23 -is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week with all calls charged at the standard local rate, even from mobile phones
  • NHSBT collects 1.7 million units of blood each year from over 23,000 blood donation sessions in more than 3,000 venues
  • Less than three per cent of people in England and North Wales aged 17-70 have donated blood in the last 12 months
  • A unit of blood is measured as 470mls (or just under a pint)
  • There are four main blood groups – O, A, B and AB. A regular supply of all blood groups is vital – red cells last 35 days and platelets only 7days.
  • Maintaining a regular supply of group O negative is particularly important to respond to patient need.
  • Female whole blood donors can give blood every 16 weeks, while male blood donors can donate every 12 weeks.