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Friday, 7 September, 2001, 15:57 GMT 16:57 UK
'Give us UR blood'
Students will be targeted in the campaign
Students will be targeted in the campaign
Students are set to receive text messages on their mobile phones to remind them to give blood.

The innovative scheme, which will start in late September, will help the National Blood Service (NBS) keep track of those who give blood.

At the moment, the service often loses track of university and college students as they move around.

The blood service may in the future even be able to text people of a particular blood type if they run short.


Thank U 4 offering to give blood. We'll text more details soon. Please encourage your friends 2 take part."

Sample message
The initial scheme will run throughout the academic year in England and north Wales.

If it is successful, the text messaging scheme will be extended throughout the blood donating population.

People will only be contacted if they have already given blood, and the service has filed their details, including their mobile phone number.

Reminders

The NBS and mobile messaging company Boltblue have already piloted the idea, and seen donations rise by 32%.

It was far more successful than the postal reminders the service currently relies on - which will continue for the time being - and saved the service money.


Thank U 4 doing something amazing. Your blood will help save lives.

Message people would receive after donating blood
People will be sent messages to thank them for offering to give blood, to tell them when their appointment is, as a last-minute reminder, if they missed their appointment, and as a thank you for donating.

The NBS will decide who should receive a particular message, and Boltblue will send it out to selected people on the database.

Martin Weller, marketing initiatives manager for the NBS, told BBC News Online: "Students are our most transient donating group.

"This is a medium that's really immediate - it's there in their hands. And its much more efficient."

Michael Brown, chief executive of Boltblue, said: "This initiative is a superb example of mobile technology helping to solve age-old problems."

The NBS currently has 4.5 days' stock of blood, which is enough to support all the country's hospitals.

But blood only has a shelf-life of 35 days.

And platelets - which are used in the treatment of people who can't make blood from their own bone marrow - last for just five days, so the service is constantly appealing for more donors.

See also:

30 Jul 01 | Health
Church donates blood machine
13 Jun 00 | Scotland
'Give blood before you go'
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