A LIFELONG blood donor says he has been left unable to give blood because of cost-cutting in the service.
Richard Coates, a former firefighter, has given blood for the past 55 years but has found it increasingly difficult to find a donor session in the area that can fit him in.
It comes as the NHS Blood and Transplant Service launched an appeal for new donors of specific types of blood during National Blood Week, which runs until June 14.
Forty per cent fewer volunteers are coming forward to give blood.
But Mr Coates, a 69-year-old fire safety consultant, said that could be down to bureaucracy.
The Brights Lane resident said: ‘I have given blood once or twice a year for 55 years at centres all over the UK.
‘Since coming to Hayling it has been a fight.
‘The communication within the blood transfusion service is shambolic since they cut costs by setting up a central call centre in Ireland.
‘I no longer receive written communications when there is a local session.
‘On the single occasion an invitation did arrive, the sessions were already full and yet further e-mails and texts came to remind me to book a place.
‘Last year one session was cancelled and donors were advised to go to one at Fratton Park.
‘On arrival, this session had been cancelled and donors were re-directed to Stanmore community centre where staff were not prepared for the session – an absolute shambles again.’
Jon Latham, assistant director of donor services, thanked Mr Coates for his loyalty and said he was sorry to hear of his frustration.
He added: ‘We hope donors understand that as an NHS service we have a duty to balance collecting the right amount of blood with offering a convenient service to donors. The more efficient we can be, the more savings we can make available for hospitals to use on front-line care.’
To find out how to give blood go to blood.co.uk.