For many years the NHS Blood Transfusion service has enjoyed a close relationship with the Church. Many of our buildings are used for hundreds of Blood Donations every year; more than 40 events are planned each month. This is all done at no cost to the NHS.
At the outset of COVID-19 Peter Trebilcock, Assistant National Communication Director, met with Caroline Eaton, the Venue Development Manager for NHS Blood and Transplant. At the meeting Caroline expressed how much the NHS really values the relationship with the Church; our venues make up a significant proportion of the 1,700 places they use each year and in current circumstances there was still a need for the blood supply to continue.
It is estimated that almost four per cent of the blood donated in England comes through donations made in our premises. Each blood donation can save three lives. They estimate that the blood donated in our premises will benefit up to 60,000 patients this year. However, blood only has a shelf life of 30 days and platelets only seven days.
The NHS knew that our buildings were closed for worship services and all other meetings but requested permission to maintain the blood collections. The Area Presidency subsequently gave consent and not only did the donations continue but some local Church leaders offered them the use of Church buildings which had not been utilised in the past.
The NHS put in place extra safety measures and cleaning regimes, and their trained staff were in place to check everyone before they entered the sessions. They introduced further measures to reduce the spread of disease including provision of hand sanitizers and donor stations placed two metres apart. These procedures were agreed with the Church’s national Facilities Management team and special protocols were issued to all NHS Blood teams using our premises. We are grateful to the Stake Presidents and Bishops who were able to continue to support the NHSBT in our units. The Church also offered our buildings for other functions including testing centres.
The NHS venue-delivery project manager Jana Meier said, “Your support throughout COVID-19 pandemic has been incredible. We are so grateful that you kept your churches open for blood donation and accommodated extra sessions where possible. This has not gone unnoticed here in NHSBT. Could I please ask you to share this letter as you feel appropriate with all you congregations who have supported blood donation through the unprecedented times.”
NHSBT Chief Executive, Betsy Basis wrote:
3 August 2020
Dear The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints,
I would like to thank you personally on behalf of NHS Blood and Transplant for supporting blood donation during these unprecedented times. COVID-19 has created challenges for us all. Yet thanks to your ongoing support, we have not faltered in being able to meet hospital demand for life-saving blood to help patients in need across the country.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and your congregations across the country has stepped up to the challenge and not only continued to host Blood Donation sessions throughout but were also willing to support us with additional church venues if needed.
Please accept our sincere gratitude for all your support, both now and always.
NHS Blood and Transplant
We are deeply grateful to all local leaders and volunteers who make these sessions possible, providing so much needed blood to those requiring transfusions. We hope that this service remains as long as it is needed.