Information for blood donors
A reliable supply of blood and its products is essential to NHS care and NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT) is the main supplier of these products to the NHS. It is important to ensure that in the future, there will continue to be enough blood donated.
NHSBT has made research into alternative strategies for collecting blood a high priority. One way to increase the blood supply is to ask blood donors to give blood more frequently. However, some time is required between blood donations to allow the body to replace its iron stores. NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT) has funded the INTERVAL study involving about 50,000 blood donors, aiming to find the optimum interval for which it is safe for different donors to give blood. You can read more about the INTERVAL study here.
What is the HEMO study?
The HEMO study is looking at different changes that could be made to the blood service, intended to encourage more frequent blood donation, and estimating their cost effectiveness. The potential changes we are looking at are:
Extending the opening times at blood collection centres
Providing a health report to whole-blood donors after each donation
Changing the number of times that donors are allowed to give blood each year, if it is safe to do so
We have surveyed blood donors to find out how these possible changes to the blood collection service would impact the frequency with which they choose to donate. Around 35,000 donors took part in the surveys.
We have analysed the results of the donor survey and the INTERVAL study, as well as routine data held by NHSBT about how often people donate now, and about the costs of donation, to see which changes to the blood collection service would be most worthwhile.
We will report which of the changes that could be made to the blood collection service are in keeping with donors’ preferences and would also be most cost effective.
Blood donors are taking part in workshops to discuss our early findings and the final study results will be made publicly available.
Consent and confidentiality
All donors completing the surveys consented for their answers to be used in the research, and for their answers to be linked, by the study, to information about their previous blood donations.
All the data was anonymised and the research team does not have access to any personal information about blood donors.
The surveys of blood donors received approval from the NHS and London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine Research Ethics Committees.