September 16 2014 Latest news:
Hayley Anderson, Reporter
Friday, June 20, 2014
More than 1,000 people have signed an e-petition to try to save a blood platelet donor centre.
NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT) last month decided that Brentwood donor centre in Crescent Drive would close.
However, regular donors are fighting back with the online petition signed by 1,200.
Donor Andrew Hensman, 42, from Braintree, said: “We are like a big community here so why would you move something that is working perfectly already? It makes no sense.”
Platelets are cells that circulate within our blood and create clots to stop us from bleeding.
When people give whole-blood the donor can go every couple of months, while platelet donors visit every couple of weeks, connecting themselves to a machine which takes the platelets but gives back the rest of the blood.
The Department of Health’s independent advisory committee on the safety of blood said it is more worthwhile to extract whole-blood rather than just platelets.
Protesters say this would mean the nearest platelet donation centre would be in Cambridge, making it more difficult to make a contribution.
Assistant director of blood donation operations and nursing at NHSBT, Jane Pearson, said: “It is important to stress that this has been one of the most challenging decisions I have ever had to make but, as a publicly-funded organisation, we are acutely aware that every penny we save is another penny which could go towards patient care.”
Andrew said: “It will not help anyone by moving it far from those who are dedicated to donating.
“It will only make it more of a struggle for them, which will not benefit anyone.”
Acting head for the eastern region of NHSBT, Jane Griffiths, said: “We are taking the petition very seriously – as we are with all of the feedback from our donors.”
The centre will still be holding drop-in sessions which will take place from next Wednesday to Wednesday, July 9.