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19th February 2016

On the 1st February, the second year BTEC biology students and several AS biologists spent a day at the NHS Blood Transfusion Centre in Filton.

The group at the Transfusion Centre

The group at the Transfusion Centre

The centre serves 90 hospitals across the country and uses state of the art technology to process almost 2 million donations a year, making it the largest blood manufacturing facility in the world. The aim of the trip was to provide students with an overview of the role of scientists in the National Blood Service.

Protective clothing was donned by all - disposable coats, gloves, shoe covers and hair bags - the moustache cover and the all-in–one balaclava have been phazed out! Perfectly attired, the students followed their tour guides in washing their hands repeatedly in all flavours of alcohol.

The logistics of bagging, tagging, delivering, processing, analysing and dispatching products within a tight time scale were astoundingly well organised in a centre the size of a megastore. There are hundreds of blood groups to consider; female blood is processed differently to male blood and all of the different blood components are processed separately!  

The tour gave students first-hand experience of scientists and technicians at work and every one of them was tremendously impressed.