Donor carer

Members of the public volunteer to give blood, so that they can save and improve the lives of patients in need of transfusions and blood products. Teams of donor carers set up the blood donation sessions, before welcoming and caring for donors while they give blood. 

This page has information on the role of donor carers, including entry requirements and skills needed. 

Working life

NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT) collect just over 1.6 million donations of blood and blood products throughout England each year. The NHS relies on members of the public (donors) giving voluntary donations of blood and blood products. These are stored and given to patients when needed, for example, during surgery or after an accident.

As a donor carer, you’ll enjoy plenty of variety including caring for donors through the blood donation process, driving NHSBT equipment vehicles, loading/unloading and assembling mobile donation equipment.

Donor carer with volunteer donating blood

You don’t need a healthcare background or any qualifications as you’ll be trained in a variety of roles to undertake the blood donation process, including:

Naturally, you’ll need to be comfortable with handling bags of donated blood.

Customer care is an important part of the job.  It’s your passion for people and reassuring nature that’s important and will encourage donors to return and bring family and friends along to donate.

Some donor carers work in the fixed donor centre sites. These are purpose built locations open most days of the week.  Donor carers working at these sites are not required to drive NHSBT equipment vehicles.  Some donor carers, however, work in mobile teams going out into the community to a different location each day.

Entry requirements 

There are no set entry requirements or formal qualifications to becoming a donor carer. However, you will need a good grasp of literacy and numeracy. If the role is for a mobile team you will also need to possess a full UK driving licence, although you will be trained to drive larger NHSBT vehicles and if necessary support in obtaining the additional category to drive large vehicles on your licence.

Donor carers may enter through a health and social care (care pathway) apprenticeship at level 2 or 3.  Apprenticeships whilst undertaking this role are available. 

NHSBT provide comprehensive training to undertake the donor carer role, so you don’t need a background in healthcare for this role.

Find out more about gaining experience

Skills and personal characteristics needed

As a donor carer, you'll need to interact with lots of people, so you will need to be friendly and confident with good customer care skills.  You will also need the ability to work within a team and have excellent communication skills.

You'll need to carefully follow the written procedures required to collect blood safely, so an eye for detail is key.  Confidence working with computers and other digital devices is also important.  You will also need to be physically fit to be able to carry and set up the donation equipment.

Training and development

You will be given training in the role of donor carer so that you can perform the role with confidence.  You will obtain nationally recognised certification for the skills you learn while you are with NHSBT. 

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