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Third of blood centres cut

8th May 2006

08052006_bloodtransfusion1.jpgThe NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT) service is set to close three of its 10 blood centres across the country and make 200 redundancies. The NHSBT was set up as a special health authority last October as part of the arm’s length bodies review.

The service is to shut its blood centres in Southampton, Plymouth and Bristol and make significant service reductions at its Birmingham site. It plans to open a new centre at a site in Filton, Bristol, and to move much of the existing services from the three closed centres to this site.

A spokesman for the National Blood Service, which is part of the NHSBT said the closures were due to falling demand from acute trusts for red blood cells, said the HSJ. Demand is down 14 per cent since 2000.  The spokesman said that the closures were designed to make sure the NBS was providing a value-for-money service, with many estates are outdated, and over-capacity in the service.

Representatives from Amicus union, which represents many of blood service staff, reacted angrily. Andy Ford, Senior Amicus representative for the NBS said that the plans involved the loss of possibly hundreds of skilled scientific workers from the blood service, and went far beyond anything warranted by the current fall in demand for red blood cells.

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