Revamp for transfusion service20th July 2006
A modernisation of the blood transfusion service has been announced, including the possible sale or closure of its Bio Products Laboratory (BPL), and almost certainly involving job losses among its 6,000-plus staff.
Better conservation of blood during operations has seen demand fall but unit costs rise, with additional screening adding to costs. Because of the risk of CJD the laboratory has had to buy plasma from the US, increasing its costs. The main therapeutic product it was set up to provide, factor VIII for haemophiliacs, has also been replaced by an artificial alternative. The authority is seeking international partners for a joint venture, supply contracts, or a possible sale, without which there is a real risk of closure. This would leave the UK dependent on overseas supplies of immunoglobulin and albumin.
On the transfusion side it is likely that the 10 processing plants covering England and north Wales will be reduced to three or four, and plans have already been announced to replace three plants with a £60m centre in Bristol.
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Title: Revamp for transfusion service
Author: Sue Knights
Article Id: 535
Date Added: 20th Jul 2006