Ipswich: I’m too heavy to give blood

IPSWICH: In his role as organiser of the Ipswich Beer Festival, Nigel Smith sees his fair share of pints.

But when the CAMRA member went along to give blood, his 25th pint, he was shocked to be refused.

Mr Smith, of Back Hamlet, was told he weighed too much to be able to safely lie on the bed to donate. In his 20-year career giving blood, the BT worker said never before has his weight been an issue.

“Giving blood is something I feel is really important.

“I have always given blood and this time would have been my 25th go at it.”

So when the mobile unit visited Mr Smith’s place of work, Adastral Park in Martlesham, in September, he was among the first to sign up to secure his appointment. But when nurses quizzed him about his weight, the 50-year-old was taken aback.

“They have never asked me before,” he said. “It did come as a bit of a shock.

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“The nurse in charge obviously picked up on the fact I am heavy and asked me my weight. Then she went away to get some advice and told me health and safety rules state the beds are only suitable for people who weigh up to 20-stone.”

The engineer, who is also the Suffolk area organiser for CAMRA, and weighs 24 stone, said when his shock had subsided he was left disappointed.

“I was a bit upset,” he added. “I was excited about giving my 25th pint of blood, it was a bit of a milestone for me. I am quite a big person and I get that it is a health-and-safety issue but I have given blood, lying on those beds for years and my weight hasn’t changed dramatically. I was happy to take the risk.”

Mr Smith has vowed not to give up donating blood and urged more people to follow his lead. “It is so important more people give blood, I am not giving up, it is just a setback. I hope more people will become donors,” he said.

A spokesman for the National Blood Service said the team in the Ipswich area do have beds that can take people weighing up to 25 stone.

He said: “Regrettably some larger blood donors may be prevented from donating and NHS Blood and Transplant is sorry for any distress that this has caused. We value all of our donors and would like to thank donors for their continued support in helping to save lives.”

n Have you encountered a problem giving blood? Call The Evening Star news desk on 01473 324788 or e-mail starnews@eveningstar.co.uk