Started the week on Tuesday, after a day off on Monday. The morning started with a trip to Cardiff to be part of the launch of the Welsh Organ Donation ‘opt out’ legislation. This is new legislation which presumes that if you have lived in Wales for 12 months, and you die in Wales, you are presumed to have consented to organ donation. If you don’t want to be an organ donor you need to ‘opt out’. This is quite different to the ‘opt in’ of the rest of the UK. It taps into the idea that many people, when surveyed say they would be an organ donor but never get around to actually signing up to the register.

There were speeches from the First Minister and the Health and Social Care Minister, in both cases thanking NHSBT for our help in delivering the legislation. Our teams, across the organisation, have worked very hard to make the legislation a reality, with work ranging from new training of SNODs through to the implementation of new organ donor register. At the event we also saw a very moving play about organ donation which addressed some of the myths and family challenges of organ donation.

It was then over to Sheffield for our Exec team meeting on Wednesday. As ever there was a range of issues discussed. We had a useful conversation about how we can reinforce our footprint in the North of England and ensure, where it makes sense, connect with potential partners in emerging medical research and technology.

We also looked at the quarterly health and safety report. There has been a definite improvement across the board, but I won’t be happy until we are reporting lots of near misses (and learning from them) and we don’t have any lost time accidents. As I have said before – if you see a colleague doing something which may lead to an accident please talk to them about it – don’t walk past. Equally important if you see a near miss then please report it. If you don’t know how to do that talk to your team leader or manager.

We also looked at some of our business continuity risks and ensured that in the event of a Paris style attack we have plans in place to support the NHS and other agencies effectively.

It was then a quick trip to Birmingham. Thursday started at the Reach Higher Alumni event. Reach Higher is a programme we run for both our own team, and others from other DH Arm’s Length Bodies to support colleagues from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic backgrounds. The programme is part of our extensive range of development opportunities for everyone in the organisation.

Like the rest of the NHS, colleagues from Black and Asian backgrounds are under-represented at senior levels in our organisation and we want to do something about it. It was great to hear about the difference the programme has made to a number of colleges. We also talked about the BAME network, chaired by Colin Brown. Amongst other things the network aims to look for ways to support NHSBT to reach communities we have traditionally struggled to reach, thereby addressing the shortage of black and Asian blood and organ donors. If you are interested in joining the BAME network please contact Colin.

It was then into London to say goodbye to Clive Ronaldson who is retiring. Clive has been the Director of Blood Supply for a number of years and prior to that he ran BPL. Clive has made a massive contribution to NHSBT and has played a big part in creating the organisation we know today. We all like to think we have left something of a mark when we leave an organisation but Clive has left a whole beachful of very big footprints.

Friday is another day off (my wedding anniversary!). Have a good weekend and I’ll see you next week.

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