McArthur rolls up sleeve for blood donation

Orkney's MSP, Liam McArthur, has appealed to those who can donate blood "to roll up their sleeve and deliver" as he donated blood on Thursday evening.

Mr McArthur's donation follows a commitment made in the Scottish Parliament chamber on Wednesday during a debate on the Scottish National Blood Transfusion Service.

Last month it was revealed the number of people donating blood in Scotland dropped by 13,000 over the past year, with Scotland having fewer registered blood donors than at any other point this century.

Mr McArthur has also written to the Director of SNBTS asking the service to look again at the case for introducing a blood collection programme in Orkney.  SNBTS held a highly successful trial donor session in Orkney in 2009 with a view to establishing whether a more regular arrangement could be put in place.  Feasibility studies concluded that there were "significant issues" in transporting blood reliably back to the mainland and so the plans were shelved in 2017.  Orkney’s MSP now wants to see those plans revisited.

Commenting, Mr McArthur said:

"I have been a regular blood donor in the past, but fell out of the habit for a variety of reasons.  This week’s debate and the SNBTS’ campaign to encourage more people to donate acted as a timely prompt to get my sleeves rolled up and back donating.

"While donating blood itself is easy, pretty painless and desperately needed, it is not something that can readily be done by those living in our island communities.  Despite a hugely successful trial back in 2009, attempts to set up more regular donation sessions in Orkney have been frustrated.

"In correspondence with SNBTS in 2017, I was told that investigations concluded that the limitations in moving blood safely back to the Scottish mainland were, for the time being at least, insurmountable.  I know that this was a great disappointment to many constituents who have been keen to sign up as regular donors.

"Five years on, however, I believe the time is right to look again at the logistics and feasibility of mobile units coming to the islands.  With a drop of around 13,000 donors in Scotland over the past year, the service clearly needs to make it as easy as possible for people to get involved. "I look forward to exploring the options with SNBTS.  In the meantime, I would encourage anyone who is able to donate to do so.  There may even be a chocolate biscuit or two in it for you!"

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