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Plea to stop Doncaster venues making cash out of blood donors

Louise Parkin was shocked to discover that many venues charge to host blood donation sessions.
Louise Parkin was shocked to discover that many venues charge to host blood donation sessions.

A woman from Doncaster is urging venues to reconsider charging to host blood donation sessions - saying they profiting from people giving up their  time to do a good deed. 

Louise Parkin, 58, from Barnby Dun has been a blood donor the majority of her life, having signed up at age 18 when her cousin was run over and needed a massive blood transfusion to be in with a chance of survival.

Louise Parkin, with her blood donation card, is wanting to raise awareness for blood donation.

Louise Parkin, with her blood donation card, is wanting to raise awareness for blood donation.

Unfortunately, Louise’s cousin passed away but she vowed to carry on giving blood to help others in need.

According to Louise, only four per cent of people that are eligible to be a blood donor actually give blood, whereas the remaining 96 per cent don’t. 

However, upon a recent visit to donate blood she was shocked to hear that other venues are charging extortionate prices.

The majority of fire stations in Doncaster and some churches do not charge to host the sessions.

She emailed Stephen Wright, Regional Planning Manager for NHS blood and transplant in the North enquire about venues charging for their use.

According to Stephen, most of the current venues across the region charge for use of their facilities, with Doncaster Racecourse one of the more expensive. 

He added: “We have been working in partnership with both Fire Station Authorities and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints who provide their venues to us at no cost to the NHS, enabling more money to be spent on frontline patient care.’

Louise said: “The venue cost has not put me off, but it took me by surprise.I feel quiet angry that normal, ordinary people are giving up their time to ‘do something amazing' by donating blood for nothing in return and out of the goodness of their heart. 

“But then you get some venues and institutions who are taking advantage of that and profiting by it.

“People are giving blood, but the venue cost is passed on to the NHS. That money could be used more constructively.”

She is now encouraging more people to become blood donors, and is asking venues to reconsider charging to host the sessions.

Dean Neill, Head of Region – North and Midlands said:  “We’re searching for partners who do not charge us venue hire to collect blood. Our national strategy is to gradually move as many of our mobile donation sessions as possible to venues that do not charge us.

“We are extremely grateful when venues are able to meet our needs at a reduced price, or preferably without charging us at all. That helps keep costs as low as possible for the wider NHS. Nationally, we spend around £4m a year on venue hire for donation sessions

“Our life saving donors give their time and their donations for free and we’re seeking partners who will do the same with their venues.”

We have reached out to Doncaster Racecourse for comment.