In Stockholm, blood donors get a text when they’ve saved a life

O- donors wanted in Sweden. Image:

I think I’d like to know when my blood is coursing through someone else’s veins. Great news, then, that a Swedish blood centres now text donors to notify them when their blood is used to help save someone’s life.

The initiative kicked off in Stockholm three years ago. It’s had such a positive response, on social media and beyond, that it’s now being rolled out across the whole country.

Image: Screenshot of @robertlenne's Twitter feed.

In fact, donors get several such texts. One thanks them for donating; others express gratitude whenever the blood is used. A spokeswoman for the Stockholm blood service, Karolina Blom Wiberg, told the Independent: "We are constantly trying to develop ways to express [donors'] importance. We want to give them feedback on their effort, and we find this is a good way to do that."

In other words, it’s a way of both making people feel appreciated, and, we suspect, reminding them that they might want to donate again some time. Nifty.

This isn’t the only way the Swedish authorities are using better communications to encourage blood donors. To avoid a shortage, the authorities have decided the best way is to be open and honest about how much blood they actually have. Dynamic online infographics keep track of which blood types the blood banks in various regions require to remain at safe levels in future. (You can see a screenshot at the top of this page.)

”The same info as we have internally is shown externally,“ Blom Wiberg says. The hope is that, in times of need, people will run to their nearest clinic, arms at the ready and give, give, give.

Maybe the UK could learn a few lessons here. According to NHS data released in early June, there are 40 per cent fewer donors today than there were 10 years ago. With stats like that, maybe we could all do with some encouragement by text.

If you fancy giving blood in the UK, then why not click here.

Kat Houston is web editor at Design Curial.


Podcast: Beyond the wall, with John Lanchester

A sea wall in Japan. Image: Getty.

This week it’s another live episode, of sorts. In early April I was lucky enough to chair an event at the Cambridge Literary Festival with the journalist and novelist John Lanchester.

John was mostly there to promote his latest novel, The Wall, a “cli-fi” book about a Britain trundling on after catastrophic climate change has wiped out much of the planet. In the past he’s also written about other vaguely CityMetric-y topics like the housing crisis and the tube - so he’s a guest I’ve been hoping to get on for a while, and was kind enough to allow us to record our chat for posterity and podcasting purposes.

Incidentally, I didn’t find a way of turning the conversation to the tube. We do lose ten minutes to talking about Game of Thrones, though.

The episode itself is below. You can subscribe to the podcast on AcastiTunes, or RSS. Enjoy.

Jonn Elledge is the editor of CityMetric. He is on Twitter as @jonnelledge and on Facebook as JonnElledgeWrites.

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