Every so often I give blood. It makes me feel like I am playing my part. I have blogged about it several times as each time I go there is always some change. They are undertaking a gradual redesign of the their process flow. It is all Virginia Mason and the Toyota Production Model. There have been new leaflets, instruction to drink more water, devices to clean your arms better and, of course, new beds.
As I am lying there and the nurse pokes the needle in my arm I talk to them about the changes that are happening. There is plenty to talk about.
This time I had gone to a new venue. I had not been able to go to the usual place due to other commitments and the nurse asked me why I had come to this particular location. He went on to tell me how they were reducing the number of places to give blood. Only those over a certain number of beds will continue. My preferred location in Morpeth will merge with another bigger gig.
I was surprised. I thought that there was a continuing demand for blood and it seemed counterintuitive to reduce the number of sessions yet it seems I am wrong. It does happen from time to time. I am no phlebotomist.
Apparently, he went on to tell me, that the requirement for blood is dropping, not because people are not needing it but that the health service can manage it better and keep it longer. They can manage the current demand with the current supply.
What they do need however is more donors. The National Blood Service is managing its supply chain very well but may not be able to cope in the case of an emergency. If something bad happens and high demand is experienced then there will be a need to draw upon a large number of donors. This is their key requirement at the moment. We all know that bad things happen.
It is a fascinating journey and already I am wondering what I will learn at my next visit.