Sudbury blood donor clinic converting to plasma
CTV Northern Ontario
Published Thursday, August 8, 2019 2:17PM EDT
Last Updated Thursday, August 8, 2019 7:00PM EDT
The Ontario Nurses' Association is expressing concern over an announcement that Canadian Blood Services will close the doors of its Sudbury blood donor clinic, as well as the mobile clinics it handles.
CTV News has learned it is slated for closure in January.
This comes on the heels of the announcement from the organization saying that Sudbury has been selected as one of three cities from across the country that will become a specialized plasma collection clinic.
ONA is the union that represents over 65,000 registered nurses, healthcare professionals, and nursing student affiliates. It is concerned a gap of several months in employment for the Registered Nurses that work at the Sudbury clinic until the new one opens in May.
"ONA and CBS are on the same page regarding our commitment to the volunteer-based collection of whole blood and blood plasma, as opposed to paid donations," says ONA President Vicki McKenna, RN. "While we support the goal of increasing Canada's plasma collection, we are deeply concerned about the impact on the highly skilled and knowledgeable RNs who are being informed that they will lose their jobs."
The new site will be the first to open and is expected to be operational by Spring 2020. The other two locations, Lethbridge, Alberta and Kelowna, British Columbia will open Spring 2021.
"Opening these stand-alone sites will allow us to increase plasma collection and halt the current downward trend in Canada's source plasma sufficiency levels. By increasing the domestic plasma supply we can continue to be responsive to the needs of Canadian patients, today and into the future," said Dr. Graham Sher, Chief Executive Officer for Canadian Blood Services.
The three proof-of-concept sites will further test and perfect a new collection model that is different from the current whole blood method.
Canadian Blood Services says the usage of one plasma protein product, immune globulin, has doubled internationally over the last decade and is used to treat a group of rare chronic disorders involving the immune system affecting around 10,000 Canadians.
CTV Northern Ontario received a response to its media inquiry late Thursday evening in regards to the new clinic, the transition, and the four-month gap where there will be no blood clinics in northeastern Ontario.
In a prepared statement, Canadian Blood Services says it is working with local teams to determine how things will work in the coming weeks.
"We are in the early stages of our planning and can already anticipate that the timing for transitioning of our collections model may fluctuate. Mobile collection events are not part of the source plasma proof-of concept model, so there are some communities where we will no longer collect blood. We hope you can assist us in clarifying that there are many ways to support Canada's lifeline, such as registering to become a stem cell or organ and tissue donor, and with financial contributions," the statement reads. "You have our assurance that no longer collecting in a specific community does not impact hospital patients. We manage a national inventory of blood and blood products that makes it possible to address the needs of hospital patients, even in places where there isn't a local donor centre."
The Canadian Blood Services statement goes on to explain that local blood donations are sent to regional hubs and then redistributed. Blood donations made in northern Ontario are shipped to the hub in Brampton.
"In Sudbury, we expect to begin collecting plasma from eligible donors in the spring/summer 2020. This does mean that we will no longer be collecting whole blood in Sudbury and surrounding communities by the end of January 2020.
At this point, out of respect and deference for the interests an involvement of various key stakeholders, we can only assure you that our decisions will involve a transition of the donor base. The level of engagement of donors in all three communities was an important part of why they were selected."