Hours for blood bank cut back
By JENNIFER HUXLEY
PLANNED reductions in the time allocated to blood collection at the Grafton Blood Bank have left volunteers concerned that supply may not meet demand.
As of August, donating times will be decreased from two four-hour sessions a week to two four-hour sessions a month. While the Red Cross says more efficient practices will enable it to collect to the level needed, one Blood Bank volunteer said the services would be insufficient.
"The volunteers aren't happy and the donars aren't happy, the Red Cross claims it is upgrading the Grafton branch but such a huge cutback in time hardly indicates this," they said.
"The Red Cross's new plan is to send more staff to speed up procedure, but I don't see how it can work ... there are only three beds that we can use to bleed people from, so how can more staff help?
"At a time when blood supplies are critically low it seems strange to cut back on donation services."
Red Cross NSW North public relations co-ordinator Catherine Huley said the time reductions would not have adverse effects as the service would operate more efficiently.
"Because the Red Cross is a federally-funded organisation we have a responsibility to be efficient in the way we collect blood," Ms Huley said.
Grafton Base Hospital executive officer John Wickham said it was difficult to predict the results of the changes in time allocated to blood donation.
"It depends whether or not the change in hours will affect the amount of blood collected, but I can't stress enough how important it is that people continue donating blood ? one in three will need blood in their lifetime but only one in 30 donate," he said.