Blood do­na­tion axe falls on town

The Oban Times - - News -

STORNOWAY res­i­dents have ex­pressed dis­ap­point­ment they will no longer be able to do­nate blood in the town.

Scot­tish Na­tional Blood Trans­fu­sion Ser­vice (SNBTS) is to stop blood do­na­tion pro­grammes in Stornoway, fol­low­ing a 20 per cent drop in the need for blood.

Lynne Willdigg, head of donor ser­vices, told the Lochaber Times: ‘In Septem­ber 2016 we wrote to peo­ple to say we would be mak­ing changes af­ter see­ing a 20 per cent drop in the need for blood in the last six years, through im­proved prac­tices to re­duce the need for blood on the front line. We have changed our col­lec­tion process across Scot­land to re­flect this.

‘We un­der­stand out donors may be up­set with the de­ci­sion. We have been com­ing to the is­land for more than 10 years.’

Un­pre­dictable weather con­di­tions and trans­port de­lays also con­trib­uted to the de­ci­sion. The big­gest chal­lenge for us is the trans­porta­tion of blood back from the is­land. We only have 22 hours, from the first blood do­na­tion, to get it back to our process and test­ing site in Ed­in­burgh. It’s very tight. We have to do it by ferry be­cause we can't trans­port untested blood by air. But bad weather can put pres­sure on that trans­porta­tion. We have to look at the best way to meet the de­mand from hos­pi­tals,’ said Ms Willdigg.

The change will not im­pact on the de­liv­ery of tested and pro­cessed blood to the West­ern Isles.

Na h-Eileanan an Iar SNP MSP Alas­dair Al­lan has ex­pressed his dis­ap­point­ment at the de­ci­sion. He said: ‘I know many peo­ple in the is­lands will be dis­ap­pointed they will no long have the op­por­tu­nity to do­nate blood on a reg­u­lar ba­sis. The ses­sions in Stornoway were very well-at­tended, which is a fan­tas­tic tes­ta­ment to the sense of com­mu­nity and cit­i­zen­ship we have here. Many peo­ple will have had a friend or fam­ily mem­ber who will have needed do­nated blood; many more will just have wanted to help oth­ers.

‘How­ever, we have to ap­pre­ci­ate pa­tient safety comes first and that SNBTS has to meet its 22-hour time limit for do­na­tions.

‘I plan to meet with the as­so­ciate di­rec­tor of donor and trans­port ser­vices at SNBTS in the com­ing weeks to dis­cuss this is­sue and the pos­si­bil­ity of its rein­tro­duc­tion in fu­ture.’

Ms Willdigg added: ‘ We thank all our donors in Stornoway and would be de­lighted to see them at our ses­sions on the main­land.’

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