Our step by step guide to donating for the first time

For those of you who have registered but not yet given….

Blood donor receiving his welcome leaflet

Once you’ve made an appointment you’ll be sent a Donor Heath Check to fill in. This is a questionnaire, which helps us to assess your health and ability to donate blood. When you arrive at your appointment you should give your completed questionnaire to the receptionist and then sit down in the waiting area where you’ll be given a welcome leaflet (PDF) to read, along with 500ml of water to drink. Fluids aid your wellbeing during and after donation (there are more tips on successful donating here). 

When your name is called, you’ll be taken for your private health screening where you’ll be asked some confidential questions and a tiny sample of blood will be taken from your finger to check your haemoglobin levels. If all is well, you can go to a donation chair where a donor carer will put a cuff around your upper arm to maintain a small amount of pressure during your donation.

A blood donor sits in a reclined donor chairThen your arm is cleaned and the needle is inserted. Your donation will normally take 5 – 10 minutes to complete. Afterwards a sterile dressing will cover the needle site on your arm.

Now you can take a seat at our tea table, where you’ll be offered hot or cold drinks and a snack. Take your time to relax here with a couple of drinks for about 15 minutes, to make sure you feel ok and are well hydrated.

I just saved my neighbour's life

Read about Donna Akodu's experience of donating for the first time...

Before you donate...

...check out how you can help your first donation go smoothly.

How your donation gets to the patient

Your donated blood goes directly into a special bag...

In this issue of The Donor magazine...

Organ Donation Week is here!

Changing with the times

Not as simple as ABO

Baking for Bloodwise

Autumn news

Thank you for saying #ImThere

The incredible response from my city

Giving the gift of sight

Taking the organ donation message into the classroom

Scientific review offers chance for more people to give blood