Donor carer Tracy Eastham at the last blood donor session by the IW team.
THE VIEW FROM HERE FOLLOWING a shake-up in the clinic structure on the Island, blood donors at Freshwater, who will now have to travel to larger centres in Newport, Cowes or Ventnor, are reportedly "outraged".
Some issues merit outrage. The situation at the hospice, for instance. We should all maintain the momentum on that one and not allow the administrators to hope it will eventually blow over.
Yes, outrage certainly seems the correct reaction to revelations of the way big business and massive executive expense are taking over just 14 beds in an organisation once centred on palliative care and love.
But outrage because you live in Freshwater and must now go to Newport to give occasional donations of blood?
For men, it’s a maximum of four times a year, while women are advised to donate slightly less frequently.
So it’s not exactly a full-time occupation, though obviously blood donors are to be applauded for their altruism. And, of course, it would be ideal if they could just pop along the road, give their blood, have a nice cuppa and a biscuit and be back in time to peel the spuds for supper.
However, while it may give donors the satisfied glow that comes with being a jolly good person, the NHS Blood and Transplant Service does not exist primarily to serve the donors.
Yes, they are essential but most important are those who need the blood and who should get it via the most efficient and cost-effective process.
Peter Taylor, regional operations manager, says of the new arrangements: "We have worked hard to make sure there are no forced redundancies. This is all part of an effort to save money and focus our resources on other areas."
Freshwater and Totland donors are not impressed.
Victoria Dale says she’s not paying to give blood. "It costs £9 return on the bus. I think it’s disgusting."
John Baldwin, who has made 60 donations in 44 years, says he can’t just nip out as he needs a sitter for his seriously ill wife. And Lesley Smith says "These bigger clinics will just make people feel like they are on a conveyor belt and will lose the community spirit."
Before we address these issues, let’s look at what other people have done in the name of altruism.
In last week’s CP, as well as the outraged donors, there was Anna Wardley, who swam 56 miles round the Island to raise £47,000 for charity.
Seven Island women rowed 28 nautical miles and raised £30,000 for charity.
Two sisters walked for 28 days in Spain, in temperatures of up to 45 degrees, in aid of St Catherine’s School, Ventnor.
There were several stories of cyclists pedalling doggedly through hundreds of miles to help good causes. Compared with these feats, all performed via gruelling physical endeavour and probable inconvenience, is it really too much for blood donors to go a few miles further in order to lie on a bed and give a pint of blood?
I wouldn’t normally have viewed Newport as an outpost of the Empire as far as Freshwater and Totland are concerned but perhaps these residents have never been there?
Yes, I take the point about the bus fares. But if they’re such good-hearted people, could they not perhaps organise some shared transport?
I also take the point about Mr Baldwin’s wife.
But again, they’re all terrifically altruistic. I’m sure it’s not beyond them to devise some means of helping Mr Baldwin out.
However, I don’t really take Lesley Smith’s point about the new arrangements "making people feel like they’re on a conveyor belt" and detracting from the community spirit.
Come off it, Lesley. I’m sure you’ll still be treated with courtesy and efficiency and they’ll get some blood off you and give it to somebody who really needs it.
Let’s all applaud our Island blood donors. But I think they’re getting a bit uppity about this one.
I bet some seriously ill or injured patient, urgently requiring blood, would swap places with anybody, however outraged, whose main problem appears to be a journey, undertaken not very often, of ten miles into Newport and back.
How about a bit of fresh air?
I would like to support the sisterhood that demands as many women as men in the workplace but sometimes it’s impossible.
A recent promotion for a face powder quoted its creator as wanting "to create something that would replicate the radiance you get from an afternoon spent outdoors".
A small compact of this powder costs £38. It will be bought by women who are too daft to work out that if they actually spent the afternoon outdoors, they could have the same look and save £38.
Men may be stupid but it’s a different sort of stupidity and, I’m afraid, unlike being stupid on the face-powder front, it gets them to the fore when it comes to running the world.