Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Department Closure U-Turn Demanded

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Department Closure U-Turn Demanded

Article excerpt

Byline: Craig Thompson Health Reporter craig.thompson01@trinitymirror.com

MPS from across the region have put their names to a letter demanding a U-turn over the planned closure of a department at Newcastle's Blood Donor Centre.

Twenty-five MPs from the North East and Yorkshire have signed a letter to Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt calling on him to re-examine the decision to close the city's blood supply chain process and manufacturing department at the Holland Drive centre. A similar facility in Sheffield is also threatened with closure.

The move will cost the equivalent of 38 full time jobs and leave the whole of the North East and Yorkshire without a dedicated blood manufacturing department. It is intended that their services would be taken over by the unit currently based in Manchester.

The letter was organised by Harry Harpham MP and Newcastle Central MP Chi Onwurah, in whose constituencies the threatened units are based.

Ms Onwurah, said: "Manchester is approximately three hours plus drive from Newcastle so local people rightly strongly object to a vital service being moved so far away. As some products must be used within one hour, production needs to be kept at Newcastle. "Newcastle has much more modern buildings and room for expansion, which could help meet the increasing demand for blood products. The city also has a proven track record of a high level of staff retention and the best productivity record." MP Harry Harpham added: "I am deeply disappointed that NHSBT are pushing ahead with their decision to close the Sheffield and Newcastle units.

"Not only is this causing worry for those working at the two sites, who are now wondering for how much longer they will have jobs, but it also puts millions of people across the north of England at risk.

"If there were a large-scale disaster in Yorkshire or the North East, and the emergency services needed a large amount of blood for transfusions, it is doubtful whether supplies could be brought over the Pennines from Manchester in time.

"That's why MPs from across these two regions are calling on Jeremy Hunt and the NHS Blood and Transplant Service to reconsider this decision. …

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