Examination of Witnesses (Questions 180
MONDAY 29 JANUARY 2001
180. Do you not think that is a marketing gap,
to use the jargon?
(Mr Gorham) We are not in position to tell other people
to tell a third party somebody's blood group outside medical treatment.
181. If I had a rare group and I knew it ran
through my family and you said, "Can you approach four members
of your family, here is the pack"
(Mr Gorham) We would certainly provide materials to
help somebody with marketing.
182. It is the "would" rather than
"do". It is whether you say, "Look, we would really
like you to nominate four people we can write to".
(Mr Gorham) We prefer people to volunteer. This may
seem like a precious point, it is terribly important to us and
the Service that blood donors are volunteers.
183. I was not thinking of sending somebody
around with a big needle.
(Mr Gorham) I do not think it is appropriate for us
to be saying to somebody, "You really should be recruiting
184. No, but it would be very helpful.
(Mr Gorham) It would be very helpful and we would
certainly give them opportunities to see that it would be helpful.
If they showed a slight sign of volunteering we would encourage
them and provide whatever help and support we can. I think it
is important to understand just how important the voluntary nature
of donation is in our ethics.
185. Do you think people would be put off by
such an approach from a nephew or a niece?
(Mr Gorham) That would vary on a personal basis.
186. How much use do you make of sports figures
and role models, Spice Girls, and the like?
(Mr Gorham) A lot. We are very lucky in the level
of support that we get from celebrities and personalities from
many different walks of life. That is a very important part of
what we do.
187. Do you have a policy of approaching them?
(Mr Gorham) We will approach them, yes. If we know
there is somebody who is likely to be somebody who would want
to help us then we will approach them, yes.
188. You do not mail all of the key agents and
say, "Do you have people who would like to front our adverts"?
(Mr Gorham) That is not our normal approach. We do
it through the knowledge of people who are likely to be attracted
to work with us and networking. My colleagues who work in that
area have some very strongly developed networks.
189. On staffing, which my colleague, Mr Love,
touched on, do you have problems recruiting and retaining qualified
scientists and technicians?
(Mr Gorham) We do in some areas. The two groups of
staff that we have had most difficulty in retaining are nursing
staff, which is partly a general NHS problem, and scientific staff.
The latter partly because salaries have not been particularly
competitive. I am hopeful they will be improved.
190. What gives you hope?
(Mr Gorham) I understand that there is a pay offer
on the table. That certainly goes some way, if it is accepted,
to particularly improving starting salaries, which have been a
real bone of contention.
191. Thank you. I have one question or one point
to make to you, really, on page 19, Figure 11, the map of the
units of blood moved between zones in 1999. A cursory look at
it shows that two-thirds of the blood in the country seems to
flow from other regions into the South East and the London area.
Is there a reason for that?
(Mr Gorham) Yes, I think there is actually. It is
actually easier to collect blood in rural and semi-urban areas
than it is urban areas, partly because the populations are more
stable. We have seen this pattern for some years.
192. It is effectively a flow towards London.
(Mr Gorham) It is effectively a London effect. You
will see it in other western European countries as well.
Mr Griffiths: I did read in the report that
London seems to be the most generous in terms of donating. Did
I pick that up correctly?
193. Let us have a note on this.
It is a point of some interest. One of the other things I could
not find in the report, perhaps it was my reading it, was the
overall number of units provided by the consumer. I could not
get a sense of what this was as a percentage of the total, as
a percentage of movement.
(Mr Gorham) We collect 2,450,000 and the report suggests
that, of course, something like 88.5 per cent are consumed. Could
I do the sum in my head?
194. I will do that. This is a small fraction,
(Mr Gorham) They are really small movements. There
are significantly more movements within the regions because our
blood stock management policy does involve quite a lot of movement
195. It may be more likely to be a function
of where the borders fall.
(Mr Gorham) Yes.
Chairman: Would you look at this and let us
have a note on the cause of Figure 11?
Mr Williams: I note on Appendix 10 that 1.9
million was spent in 1999 on clinical negligence. While it is
only one per cent that sounds like quite a high sum of money for
a relatively standardised process. Could you let us have a note
on how that arose, the number of cases, awards, you know, as full
information as possible?
196. One assumes that is a cash figure, not
an accrued figure.
(Mr Gorham) I think it is.
Chairman: The impression I have got sitting
here, listening to this exercise, is that one area where my impression
at the beginning was there were weaknesses is the handler of the
donors and my impression at the end is there is still a weakness
in the handling of donors. If you want to let us know any more
when you consider your evidence about this issue, it is something
that the Committee will be looking at over the course of the next
year or two with respect to seeing some results. Otherwise, gentlemen,
thank you very much for coming. I hope you have not found your
first meeting with us too difficult. Thank you very much.
5 Note: See Evidence, Appendix 1, page 19 (PAC
Note: See Evidence, Appendix 2, page 19 (PAC 2000-01/157). Back