Concerns have been raised that conditions at one of Scotland’s largest blood donor centres are unpleasant and cramped with the area serving tea and biscuits being just a few feet away from where people are giving blood.
A donor who wished to remain anonymous contacted Scotland on Sunday to highlight a number of issues at the Blood Donor Centre on Lauriston Place in Edinburgh, one of five Scottish regional centres.
There are no screens to ensure a donor’s privacy and the source says there are fridges beside the tables where people are having cups of tea that appear to be full of “blood products”.
These are routinely taken out by nurses to be put elsewhere while “you’re sitting having your tea” according to the donor.
According to their website the Edinburgh Blood Centre aims to retain six days of blood stocks at any time in order to meet requirements of patients in Scotland.
The source said: “In terms of my concerns the main one is that the area where you have a cup of tea and biscuits which you are strongly advised to have after giving blood has been moved from a separate part of the centre to being right in the middle of the area where people donate.
“I think this was done around last Christmas.
“The rationale I believe is to free up a health professional who would otherwise have to serve you tea elsewhere, but the overlap of hospitality and blood donation seems to me to be wrong on so many levels.
The source added that blood donors had to “sit and watch others giving it, which is not ideal for those feeling a little weak or queasy after donating.
“It’s cramped, bright and unpleasant despite the best efforts of the nurses. The place for me now is not a remotely acceptable place to give blood.”
Shadow health secretary and Lothian Tory MSP, Miles Briggs, said: “Having a robust process for donors’ feedback is essential to keep people giving blood. I have written to NHS Lothian to raise these concerns.”
A spokesperson for Scottish National Blood Transfusion Service said: “The layout of the Edinburgh Donor Centre does not place any risk on blood, blood products or blood donors.
“The area adjacent to the refreshment area, where blood donations are prepared for onward transportation, is screened off from blood donors who are being served tea, coffee and biscuits after donating.
“The layout of the centre is regularly reviewed and approved by infection control experts.”