Forecasts for a one-off event

It was time to give blood today, and as usual, it was interesting to observe the way that the staff manage a set of queues in series.  Queue 1 -- single server -- registration; queue 2 -- several servers -- test blood for iron, and administer donor questionnaire; queue 3 -- several servers -- give blood; queue 4 -- single server today, usually two servers -- refreshment (and today there were Easter eggs!).  queue 3 was the critical one, and today there was a bottleneck there because of staff being off for the Easter holiday.   I was asked if I minded being attended to by a trainee "donor care attendant" who was starting a second career after having been made redundant from the police force.

However, more interesting for O.R. than the queues was the discussion of forecasting blood stocks for the start of the Olympics.  I have mentioned this before (here).  Anyhow, numbers have now been put to the target inventory.  Based on the normal daily requirements for blood, the amount normally held in stock, and the amount used in the last big emergency in the UK (the 7/7 bombing in London) a target has been set of about 50% more than the normal stock level.  I am not sure whether the actual figures are in the public domain, so I won't quote them.  Actually, the target level is quoted to one significant digit, so I suspect that the people who came up with it are going to be happy if the actual number in stock is within 10% of their target. 

So the donor service is gradually building up stocks, and developing additional plans in case there is a situation which requires extra donations.  I have been able to book my next donation for a few days before the Olympics start, so there may be a pouch of my blood in that enhanced stock.  Do I get a gold medal for that?


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