This is one of two projects within The Sunshine Smile Crew. Alongside MELTING POT we are showing love and support for our NHS and all those in hospital.

How many 17, 18 and 19 year olds are there in Milton Keynes ?

The Borough of Milton Keynes has a population of 248,000. Within this number there will be new-born babies and there will be those who will be celebrating their one hundredth birthday, the later I assume being significantly smaller than the former.

The average life-span in the UK is 81 years. If we divide 248,000 by 81 we come up with a figure of 3,061.

As a very rough estimate. therefore, we have 3,061 seventeen year olds, 3,061 eighteen year olds and 3,061 nineteen year olds. That's a total of 9,183 older teenagers, teenagers who are old enough to be blood donors. If all of these teenagers were to donate three times a year we would get 27,549 pints.

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University Hospital Milton Keynes uses around 6,000 pints of blood a year, that's 6,000 pints across a 550 bed hospital = 10.9 pints per bed per year. If one in five of the eligible teenagers in Milton Keynes were to become a blood donor that would more than realise the total blood used in our hospital.

Of course blood is seldom used in the area where it is donated so it is unlikely any of our teenagers, let's call them TeenHeroes, would have their blood used in our local hospital but if we could inspire these young people we would donate for use across the country the same amount as used by our hospital. In effect our TeenHeroes would be paying for the blood our hospital uses, paying with their love.

Wikipeadia, the fount of all knowledge, says there are fourteen secondary schools in Milton Keynes plus Milton Keynes College. Can we find our TeenHeroes through the schools and college ?  Schools in the twenty-first century are not easy animals to engage with, too many are too busy putting ticks in boxes to make Ofsted smile to worry about important things in our community. But if one catches on to this vision, something which would make that school stand out as special no doubt others would jump on the bandwagon.

Could we find two thousand TeenHeroes to donate the six thousand pints we need in a year.  With 19 year olds either at university or in work, just a few at Milton Keynes College, we are going to have to concentrate targeting seventeen and eighteen year olds.

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We have just started the new 2019/2020 school year. The 2020/2021 school year starts on 3rd September. The summer term in the current school year starts on 21st April 2020.  Could we have a small-scale soft launch in the summer term with a full launch in September 2020 ?

When a teenager has donated his first pint of blood he/she would be awarded a TeenHeroMK certificate. This could be presented in an assembly. There could then be a roll of honour for each school presented at the end of the school year. Correctly managed the idea would be picked up by other towns and cities across the country. What a difference that would make.

Secondary to this a blood donor is likely to also be an organ donor. Yes, there is soon to be a change in the law attempting to make organ donation the natural course at the time of someone’s death but thinking it this will not become an automatic success. I have started another project where I am engaging with non-white communities to discuss organ donation. Someone who is not a run of the mill average white person has around a 2% chance of finding an organ donor if they need one. Our TeenHeroes could set down a foundation stone to change donations in years to come.

The NHS Blood and Transplant Service is under staffed and under funded.  It has recently told donation centres NOT to publicise donations sessions in their area, presumably that is because they cannot cope with a significant rise in donor numbers. That does not equate with the overall appeal for blood donation. So understaffed is NHS Blood and Transplant that it is standard for them to reply to any communication in three working weeks. This is not a criticism of the donor system but it is a criticism of government funding.

We have built a relationship with a donor co-ordinator within NHS Blood and Organ Donors. He has given us some information on donor levels across two Milton Keynes Centres:

In 2018 Bletchley Masonic Centre held 9 sessions where 1059 donors attended with 932 pints of blood being donated.

 

Our friend at the NHS Blood and Organ Donor system tells us that in 2018 West Bletchley Community Centre held 3 sessions where 355 donors attended

 with 314 units of blood being donated.

 

So Bletchley Masonic Centre had an average of 117 donors attended a session. At West Bletchley Community Centre 118 donors attended.

 

If we suddenly add in two thousand TeenHeroes to the system that system will not be able to cope !

 

We have to discuss with donor managers how a major influx of donors can be accommodated.  To operate TeenHeroMK we would have to find a way through this. We have to find a way to help accommodate a significant increase in donors across Milton Keynes.   If we can engage University Hospital Milton Keynes and local GP surgeries could this help ?  Could local GP surgeries also help recruit TeenHeroes ?

I have worked with Health Watch MK in the past to gain support for a vulnerable person, it is possible Health Watch MK may be asked for advice in another programme I am setting up with two local council members. Health Watch MK may be able to offer valuable advice to TeenHeroMK.

We need to place schools in Milton Keynes on a map against blood donation locations. Trying to Google this information does not find a workable result.

That is all very easy on a piece of paper but how do we get it off the paper and turn it into reality ?

I want to initially share this thinking with Simon Lloyd, Chairman of University Hospital Milton Keynes, and to ask him for his opinion and advice. Although I do not see this as a hospital project it is aiming to replay the hospital's debt to NHS Blood and Organ Donation. I am here suggesting we form a small steering group - I am deliberately avoiding the word committee - to explore ways in which TeenHeroMK could become a reality.

  • I would like to put myself forward as the Project Co-ordinator.

  • If Hospital Chairman Simon Lloyd were prepared to be part of this committee that would add so much credibility and weight to our efforts.

  • It would be great to have someone from a major area of our community, perhaps from a sporting club.

  • It would be very good to have someone from education on the steering group.

  • Although I do not see him being involved it is courtesy to advise The Mayor Milton Keynes of our activities.

  • I think we should have a member of Milton Keynes Council working with us although THIS IS NOT a council project. I can think of two council members, either of which I think would contribute significantly to TeenHeroMK

That would give a team of four persons which I think would be large enough, any more and it runs the danger of becoming too wrapped in red-tape and becoming a committee ! Once we are up and running we will need a larger operational management team.

  • I am presenting this idea to Simon Lloyd on Monday 16th September 2019.

  • It would be good if he and I could have an informal chat by Friday 27th September 2019. - This has not yet happened so I need to follow it up.

  • A steering team could then have an initial meeting during week beginning Monday 14th October.

Wednesday 25th September Mondira, part of our team, and I met with Councillor Mohammed Khan.

I plan to contact Whaddon Medical Centre where I have been a patient since 1971 and share the project with staff there.

I feel it would be good for me to meet with Milton Keynes Council CEO Michael Bracey and pick his brains. Ooppsss this man says he is too busy !  Too busy spending his £176,000 salary to show some love !

I will share the plan with HealthwathcMK

After two sessions with Worktree last week I think it would be good to invite a specific school to spearhead the project. A school has stepped forward asking to talk about it taking on this role.

·        We could then aim for a soft launch at the start of Summer Term 2020 - 21st April 2020 with a full launch happening in the Autumn Term 2020.

From work I have done as a volunteer in Worktree I have learned that schools have a freshers week at the start of the Autumn Term. This would be a good week in which to have our full launch.

The steering group would have to have everything in place and to have identified which schools are to take part by the end of the year. As I have said, schools are not easy to engage with. We will have to address this.

We do not want a head teacher to manager TeamHeroMK within a school, we need a dedicated and enthusiastic member of staff or a parent.

If we get a TeenHero at the age of 17 years and he lives to the current average life of 81 that is 64 years as a donor = 192 pints.

So can we make it happen ?

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