Campaigners slam closures after "critical" blood shortages emerge


Campaigners against the cuts to the National Blood Service have hit out, after blood shortages in hospitals are already emerging.

Submitted by Dundee_United on December 10, 2007

The NHS Blood and Transplant Board which manages the NBS aims to axe blood centre in this area, in cuts plans that will see 600 jobs lost. However it emerged this week, in addition to the two recent deaths as a result of shortages in specially matched platelets, that the impact of the cuts is already being felt in other hospital shortages of blood, in your area and across the country.

"AB MB FFP blood stocks are vital for care of babies and young children. It's very worrying that blood stocks are critically low." Comments campaign activist Nick James.

The shortages emerged after an internal communication was found by campaigners, buried on the Internet. In a breathless memo flagged as an "URGENT COMMUNICATION" NHSBT wrote to hospitals urging them to curb their use of the vital blood stocks in children's transfusions, noting
that 'The national stock of group AB non-UK MB FFP has now fallen to critically low levels. Negotiations with our USA plasma supplier have
confirmed that they cannot increase supplies of AB plasma further.'

"These plans will lead to further shortages. It's pretty clear the effects of the cuts are already being felt. We need reorganisation of the NBS alright - those at the top have to get their marching orders for their dangerous scheming." James continued.

The campaign against the NBS restructuring is growing by the minute, with over 750 members nationally and nearly 10,000 signatures on a national petition. It can be reached at: [email protected]

Originally published on staff campaign blog:

Background information
1) The National Blood Service collects blood from donations from 100's of sites daily, testing the blood for Hepatitis, HIV, Malaria and Syphilis and filtering the blood and separating into components. They then distribute it promptly to hospitals. There are centres that perform these functions in Oxford, Bristol, Southampton, Tooting, Colindale, Brentwood, Manchester, Birmingham, Liverpool, Newcastle, Cambridge, Sheffield and Leeds. Planned cuts by the NHSBT Board, which manages the service, will see local processing and testing sites reduced to three 'supercentres', in Bristol, Manchester and Colindale, and will result in the loss of 600 jobs.

2) The URGENT COMMUNICATION to "All Transfusion Laboratory Managers in hospitals served by the National Blood Service (NBS) Consultants with responsibility for Transfusion HTC chairs & Transfusion Practitioners" (dated 26th November 2007) is available in pdf. here:

3) The Blood Centre in your area which serves hospitals in that area is to close.

4) In our previous release ( we noted that there were concerns over meeting government blood transfusion guidelines through supply shortages.

5) Shortages brought on by management restructuring, led to the recent deaths of two people, who required specially matched platelets. Both
deaths occured in the West Midlands, and would normally have been preventable.