Blood donation axe falls on town
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.’