Women (568) and men (531) attending blood donation sessions in Wessex in September, 1992, were assessed for anaemia by the standard CuSO4 method on finger-prick (FP) blood samples. The haemoglobin (Hb) concentration on FP samples and on venous blood was also checked using the HemoCue. Different FP samples from the same donors revealed a wide variation on HemoCue. We recommend retaining the CuSO4 method on FP samples as the initial screen, and follow-up of apparent failures by determining the Hb concentration on venous sampling with the HemoCue. As 54% of females were found on venous samples to be below the current recommended threshold (125 g/L) for Hb concentration, we also recommend lowering the threshold to 115 g/L for women, and to 130 g/L for men. We further recommend a close re-examination of normal haematology values for adults.