BLOOD: Ample room for service

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Last week you reported that the NHS Blood and Transplant Service (NHSBT) is to end blood donor sessions at the Jubilee Institute in Rothbury on August 16 of this year, (Northumberland Gazette, June 15).

These sessions are very important to the community of Coquetdale.

They have been held at the Jubilee Institute for many years, and over these years the trustees of the institute have made considerable efforts to ensure that the hall and its facilities are available and suitable for use by the NHSBT.

So it is disappointing that the NHSBT has not contacted us about its decision to stop sessions.

In my 11 years as a trustee, I cannot think of any other long-term user of the hall who has stopped its use without some form of discussion with the trustees.

In your article you give the NHSBT’s explanation that it now needs to conduct nine-bed sessions, rather than the six-bed sessions that are currently run in Rothbury. It says that it can find no other venue in Rothbury which could accommodate this option.

This is not surprising, but why did it not consider a nine-bed session in the Jubilee Institute?

Our building is large; our main hall is large. We have a number of good sized rooms/halls just off the main hall, with connecting doors that can be left open if desired.

Our donors (and the NHSBT) will be aware that the main hall is by no means filled to capacity by the six beds.

Our donors will not be able to understand why activities, such as recovery, could not be in an adjacent room, and why spare equipment could not be housed similarly.

Talk to us, NHSBT.

It is sad to see how the friendly blood transfusion service, which depends so much on goodwill from donors, has become centralised and remote in recent years, losing the ability to work easily and co-operatively with charitable organisations such as ours.

As trustees we all give a great deal of unpaid time and effort to make our facilities available for important community activities, such as giving blood.

Donors give much more, but the need to travel from Coquetdale to Alnwick or Morpeth to give blood may be the final straw.

In the NHSBT, as in the NHS as a whole, the current drive for economic efficiency and effectiveness seems to run counter to the true interest of serving the donors and patients.

Dr JA Lewis,

Secretary of Trustees ,

Jubilee Institute Rothbury