I have been donating whole blood regularly four times a year since I turned 18. My next donation will be no. 108 and is scheduled for early April. The regular donations are motivation to stay healthy and out of trouble. In between, I take an interest in how the blood bank is doing and urge my healthy friends to think about donating at least twice a year.
Almost perpetually it seems, our national blood stock is in a state of constant low supply. From time to time, this becomes an acute problem, such as this past week, when national blood stocks of the various blood groups have been at low, very low or critical levels. This problem has in fact been evident since late last year – see these posts from Nov 2011, early Jan 2012 and late Jan 2012.
The persistently very low levels of blood group ‘O’ stock has led to the Red Cross and HSA to appeal island-wide for blood donations through the media [22 Mar 2012; pdf].
“As of today, the national blood stock level is about 1,200 units, enough for the next three to four days. However, to ensure our ability to continue to meet the daily transfusion needs and bleeding emergencies, we aim to bring the current bloodstock level to at least six days’ supply of 1,800 units. (This means that we will need the support of about 1,000 donors over this weekend.)”
Why are the stocks so low?
- Bleeding emergencies in hospitals.
- Fewer people donating at community blood mobiles.
- Slow response to SMS recall of elligible national blood donors.
- And obviously, a low number of regular donors (who donate at least twice a year).
Who can donate?
If you’re healthy, are between 18 and 60 years old and weigh at least 45 kilogrammes, you are eligible to donate. If you’re a donor, you can only donate 12 weeks after your last whole blood donation.
If you have not donated blood before in Singapore, visit HSA’s informative Who can donate (e.g. six weeks symptom-free after visiting a malaria area). The webpage also has an FAQ section with information about when you may or may not donate.
HSA: Who can Donate?
Shorten the process (secret weapon)
Although the process has taken an hour tops for me so far, you can shorten this. If you are can plan the timing of your visit at HSA to a specific half-hour AND can remember your Singpass password, click the “Make an e-Appointment” link in HSA’s E-services and Forms.
I just made an appointment for my next eligible donation (12 weeks wait for whole blood donations) on 4th April 2012 at 12.30pm. My plan is this – a hearty breakfast at 8.30am while I review my 10.00am Animal Behaviour (LSM1303) lecture at NUS LT33. I’ll hop into a cab by 12.00pm and make it in time for my 108th blood donation appointment!
I’ll be done in under an hour and then into another cab to RGS by 2.00pm for a session on IT Reflections for their Staff Development Day.
The e-Appointment is easy to use and at my last visit, could see it made a significant difference to visit timing. This time, I even filled in the pre-donation questionnaire online to observe how much that speeds up the process.
The new thing at the last visit was an e-ticket system – I found it impersonal and very stressful! Blood donor staff try to calm us by calling us by name after the stressful buzzer startles us! It also looks like the e-ticket system adds to the admin work load of the nurses, and I wonder how that is working out.
Where to donate?
Blood donations can be made at the following two centres (bring your NRIC or Passport):
Bloodbank@HSA (closed on Mondays),
11 Outram Road (opposite Outram Park MRT station) – map.
Opening hours are as follows:
- Tuesdays to Thursdays: 9:00am to 6:30pm
- Fridays: 9:00am to 8:00pm
- Saturdays: 9:00am to 4:30pm
- Sundays: 9:00am to 2:00pm
- Closed on Mondays and public holidays
Bloodbank@Woodlands (closed on Tuesdays),
900 South Woodlands Drive, Woodlands Civic Centre, #05-07 – map.
Opening hours are as follows:
- Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays: 12:00pm to 8:00pm
- Saturdays: 9:00am to 5:00pm
- Sundays: 9:00am to 2:00pm
- Closed on Tuesdays and public holidays
Or catch a Bloodmobile
See: http://donorweb.org/singapore-bloodmobiles/. For example, venues this weekend are at:
Singapore should get our National Service Men to donate twice yearly. Good way to start our young men to know bout blood donations & get them to remain fit after they ORD.
I agree, yes it will help them think about maintaining their health.
actually since you are from NUS, you can consider donating at the blood bank at NUH. It is much nearer to science.
THanks Michelle, I do prefer the Outram Blood Bank as I have lots of friends there.
hi otterman, you have any friends who would consider donating their blood on this coming 1st of Sept? we are organizing a blood donation drive!
Do advertise – the people to get are the ones in your catchment.
I thank you for sharing your passion. I have been donating blood twice or thrice a year since I turned 7. My friend (now boyfriend) was a recipient of a blood transfusion when he met with an accident in December 2011. At that point, certain things “clicked” mentally. As a blood donor, it’s very heartwarming to see another party walk out alive (and part of it is due to a blood transfusion). Blood donors are saving the lives of many loved ones. You never know who you’ll be saving. It’s either that, or you’re prolonging the life of someone just so his/her loved ones can say their final goodbyes. My grandfather’s life was prolonged because of blood transfusions. Relatives in Penang could say their goodbyes because of the extra time given to him physically.
Thus, we will be going for our first blood donation as a couple sometime this week.