The reclining blood donation chair was first trialed in October 2011 and is now being rolled out by the NHS (photo credit: NHS)

The final blood donation service at Testbourne Hall was last December. Now the reason for the closure of the service has been given by NHS: Health and safety constraints for new reclining blood donation chairs which are replacing donation beds.


The switch-over from using beds is “causing a lot of havoc”, said a representative of NHS Blood and Transport (NHSBT), as several venues are too small to fit in a minimum number of donation chairs.

NHSBT confirmed that Testbourne Hall is too small to fit in even 6 of what they refer to as ‘magic’ chairs which, it is claimed, result in fewer donors fainting during a blood donation.

The service could fit 9 beds into Testbourne Hall but constraints imposed for health & safety reasons require different spacing for the chairs — room for a minimum of 9 chairs is required for a venue to be used, the NHSBT said.


St. Luke’s Hall in Overton can fit 9 chairs and is the closest donation centre to Whitchurch. There are also regular nearby donations services in Andover, Oakley and Basingstoke.

NHSBT said they are looking into the possibility of bringing a mobile donation centre – which uses beds – to Whitchurch but is not yet able to commit to doing so. They are open to suggestions for larger venues where donations can take place.


The new chairs were trialed in Hertfordshire in October 2011. At the time, Anne Modiri, a nurse in Practice Development for NHS Blood and Transplant, said: “The new chairs were specifically designed to improve donors experience and create a sleeker and more modern environment in which to give blood.”

The new chair features at least three different positions, allowing donors to recline easily and return to a sitting position after donation.

Our story on the final donation service in Whitchurch on 20 December 2012 is HERE. The location of donation services is on the website HERE. The history and pictures of the new blood donation chair is on the NHS National Innovation Centre website HERE.

Comments (1)

  • Keith Coomber

    Has the old gymnasium been considered or the Gill Nethercott centre.
    People will be reluctant to travel 4-5miles when a venue in Whitchurch would be within walking distance.
    I have just received notification from Blood U.K. They are in great need of certain blood types yet again, then in the next breath close a donation centre!!!!!!!!!!
    This seems as if Health &Safety is being used yet again as an excuse by some jobs worth.

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