Blood bank jobs are under threat

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The proposed closure of Lancaster’s blood bank will put 10 jobs at risk.

Relocation of the service to Manchester where it would merge with an exisiting unit means staff may be redeployed outside the city.

The cost-cutting exercise by NHS Blood and Transport, revealed in the Guardian last week, is part of a national strategy to streamline the service.

The blood stock-holding unit, in the grounds of Lancaster Royal Infirmary, stores seven days’ supply of blood for central and north 
Lancashire and South Cumbria.

But a spokeswoman for NHSBT said the move would not compromise the blood service provided and staff would, where possible, be redeployed within the NHSBT.

She said: “We deliver routinely to Lancaster Royal Infirmary, so it holds blood stocks itself. In addition, the hospital can request ad hoc deliveries if it needs additional blood or rare types.”

She said that there was also a ‘blue light’ service for emergency supplies following major incidents.

She said: “We would not propose any changes that might compromise the blood service.”

A statement from NHSBT said it had an ongoing commitment to making savings to re-invest in frontline NHS patient care.

It added: “The Lancaster SHU is under review as it has been identified as an area which is not operating as efficiently as possible.

“We will work closely with staff who may be affected. We will also talk to the hospitals who receive blood from the Lancaster unit to ensure that they continue to receive the same quality of service from NHSBT.”

George Nasmyth, medical director at University Hospitals Morecambe Bay Trust, said: “Our priority is to ensure we continue to offer safe, high standard services to our patients, one which we are sure is shared by NHSBT. We will continue to work with them to continue to ensure the best possible outcome for the people of Morecambe Bay.”

The proposals will go to the NHSBT Board in March at the earliest.

Blood donor sessions in the region will not be affected.