Last week I was invited to join the NHS Give Blood interval research programme, and I accepted. I don't give blood as often as I should, partly because I never seem to have the time, and, as importantly, I probably don't make as a much of an effort to do so as I need to. Bad me. Particularly as asians are one of the least likely ethnic groups to donate blood and yet are in as much need as anyone else for it when the shit goes down (as it were).
The interval research programme is looking for 50,000 volunteers to test whether the intervals between donations can be shortened from the current 12 and 16 weeks (male and females respectively) to anything up to 8 weeks. Laudable, and right given the knife-edge of supply and demand our blood supplies currently teeter on.
Here is the thing: because of the way I work I really only have late evenings or Friday afternoons (or weekends). Bearing in mind we are in the middle of September now... the earliest Friday appointment I could get was the 20th of December. Granted, this is at the permanent site (all the interval sessions have to be at a permanent site) but really. Every time I have tried to book a slot in advance at any of the local sessions I can't get one, even pretty far in advance. Granted, I can still turn up and hope to get a slot but I can't help wondering if there is as much an issue around bandwidth as there is around how often you can squeeze the red out of people.
Either way, it should be interesting (and is a great excuse for a nice juicy steak afterwards) and I look forward to seeing what the results are in two years or so.