Review by the Chief Executive

Review by the Chief Executive 

Bodily integrity is something we consider as one of our most important rights. In blood donation, we give a small part of ourselves away to a fellow human being we do not know, without seeking personal gain. Perhaps this is why people feel that they are doing something quite special when donating blood. Finland is committed to free-of-charge, voluntary blood donation as prescribed by legislation. The Finnish Red Cross is keen to ensure that this continues in the future.

In the past year, nearly 119,000 people donated blood in over 200,000 donations. It is estimated that annually as many as 50,000 patients throughout Finland receive blood products.

The red blood cell and thrombocyte supplies remained at an adequate level throughout the year even though the midsummer heatwave posed a challenge for both donors and staff, as well as for transport. Blood was donated in 10 centres throughout Finland and in temporary blood donation events; well over one thousand events were organised.

It is important for patients that blood donation stays constant throughout the year. This is why we actively communicate about the blood supply situation to the blood donors. Indeed, the Blood Service droplet barometer is familiar to all the donors. We supplemented our communications via almost 800,000 text messages, 150,000 emails and 163,000 postcards. We are also active in the social media. Our Facebook followers number over 110,000. Thanks to the active blood donors, our message reaches tens of thousands of readers in the blink of an eye.

The daily consistency of blood donations has been one of our operational measurements since 2010. The past year, 2018, was the best of the decade with regard to consistency of donations. For a couple of years, we have been preparing for the introduction of a new data system to guide blood donation and production. The project has advanced more slowly than expected, but we have now reached the test phase. The new data system will open ways to modernise communication about the best donation times between the Blood Service and the donors. It may be that ordinary text messages, emails and postcards will at some point become history, or at least, their significance will diminish.

Over the past year, we celebrated our 70 years of operations in many ways. For me, this meant going through the Blood Service’s history and delving into the archives for various speeches and writings. The Blood Service has a splendid history, and the most impressive thing in our history is how ordinary Finnish people have committed to helping their fellow human beings and passing this desire to help on to future generations. We at the Blood Service will do our utmost to preserve this tradition.

Martti Syrjälä
Chief Executive of the Blood Service, Professor