Want to donate blood? You'll have to drive to Coffs

CLARENCE Valley blood donors will need to travel to Coffs Harbour if they want to keep giving blood.

The Red Cross Blood Service collection van will make its final trip from Coffs Harbour to Grafton on Wednesday to make its red blood cell components (RBC) collection.

State Donor Services Manager Steven Eldridge said a 16% drop in the need for RBC doses and an 11% increase in the demand for blood plasma had forced a rethink of the blood collection practices.

"Clinicians are managing patient's blood needs more wisely and are therefore using fewer RBC doses," Mr Eldridge said.

Seven-year Grafton donor Kristy Paxton said she will continue to give blood, but said for many people it might not be possible.

"You go up to the hospital every three months for your donation and you see the same people there each time," she said.

"A lot of them have been coming for 10 and 15 years because they felt they were doing something to contribute to the community.

"They will feel disappointed having that taken away from them."

Ms Paxton said like a lot of Grafton people she was in Coffs Harbour reasonably often and it wouldn't be too difficult to factor a trip to the Blood Service.

Blood services spokeswoman Jemma Falkenmire said the use of plasma products was increasing rapidly.

"In the past two years the use of Intravenous Immunoglobulin (IVIg) therapy to treat immune deficiency diseases has grown 11%," she said.

She said this meant the Blood Service's donor centres in the north of the state in Armidale, Tamworth, Port Macquarie and Coffs Harbour would need an extra 9000 donations.

She said the savings made from cutting the mobile services would help the donor centres open on Saturdays and longer hours during the week.

"We understand it is going to be disappointing for a lot of people who can't continue to be donors," she said.

"But our position is that we have to respond to what the patients' needs are.

"And we also don't want to be collecting material we might not have a need for."

Mr Eldridge said the new arrangements at the donor centres will take effect from August 1.



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