NHSBT vs the Beast from the East

The recent freezing weather conditions brought out the best from colleagues who worked hard to continue our lifesaving work, getting blood and organs to those who needed them most.

Stuck in the snow…

Georgina Clark, a Senior Healthcare Technical Officer from Plymouth, was forced to stop at the side of the road after collecting a blood sample from Filton. “Lots of other drivers were stuck too. After a few hours, the police arrived to escort us to the nearest pub for shelter. By this point we couldn’t see through the blizzard, so I grabbed the sample I’d collected only to find there was no space for me in the police car.

My hands were too cold to move, I couldn’t get my key from my pocket but I was directed to a stranded ambulance for shelter. The weather was so intense that even my eyelashes were frozen.

My trousers were wet and also half frozen! “We eventually reached the pub and all 50 of us received food and accommodation for the night. The next morning, our vehicles were completely covered in snow. That afternoon,
after the snow ploughs and gritters cleared the road, I was able to get a lift back to Plymouth with some helpful ambulance responders. managed to finally send off the blood sample I had collected from Filton over 25 hours after I picked it up!

“I’m so grateful to the paramedics, police officers, pub staff and ambulance responders who all helped to rescue me. It was wonderful to see so many people working together to save and improve lives.”

Delivering life-saving stem cells

Biomedical Scientists, Sue Bartlett and Geoff White drove the three-hour journey from their base in Southampton to St George’s Hospital in Tooting to ensure a patient’s transplant wasn’t delayed.

They had been expecting a collection of stem cells that had to be delivered from the lab to a leukaemia patient who was having a life-saving stem cell transplant.

“Our delivery company couldn’t make the delivery because of the weather. The transplant was a success and Sue and Geoff made it back to Southampton in one piece!”

Impromptu donation session

When the majority of mobile sessions in the west were cancelled the teams opted for a novel approach to keep collecting blood.

Jo Curtis, Area Matron, explained “We had a few donor carers and nurses who were able to get to the Filton base, so we decided to set up a four-bed collection in one of the training rooms.

“25 colleagues attended and we collected 22 whole blood donations in two hours.

“The staff who donated were from the labs, manufacturing, testing, clinical standards and quality.”

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