Research study update: Understanding how blood donors deal with receiving a low haemoglobin result

Research study update: Understanding how blood donors deal with receiving a low haemoglobin result

In August 2023 we started giving donors a letter to take to their doctor if their haemoglobin (Hb) levels were low. If their Hb was really low, they'd also chat with one of our medical officers.

We surveyed 360 donors who received a low Hb letter in October and November 2023 to see how blood donors react and feel when they're told they have low Hb levels. The good news? Most donors were okay with the result and still felt good about donating blood. In fact, they plan to come back and donate again.

We found out that about two-thirds of the donors we surveyed had either seen their doctor or planned to after getting the letter. Older donors and those with really low Hb were especially likely to follow up with their doctor.

Some donors didn't go to the doctor because they didn't think it was necessary, they tried to fix it with diet or supplements, it was too expensive, inconvenient, or they had already talked to their doctor about it before.

A lot of donors also went online to learn more about Hb. They wanted to know what it means to have low Hb, what causes it, how it's linked to iron, why they have to wait six months to donate again, and how to manage it.

Overall, donors were positive about their experience, scoring it an average of 8.9 out of 10. They did feel a bit disappointed when they got the low Hb news, but they also felt valued and grateful. Some weren't happy with how staff treated them, although they suggested improvements we could make, like giving them more information about Hb with a pamphlet or better explanations in person.

Most of the donors we surveyed are keen to donate again, even though some are worried about being turned away next time if their Hb is still low. We're taking all this feedback on board and working on making things even better for our donors.

We’d like to thank everyone who took part in the survey. Not only did you come in to give life, but you gave your time to help make things better. If you want to know more about this study, reach out to Carol Jos at