Brentwood Blood Centre to be kept in town

Eric Pickles

Eric Pickles - Credit: Archant

Brentwood’s blood donor unit will be updated and the blood centre will be kept in the town as part of new plans.

The news comes after a consultation, which ended last week, into the future of the blood centre.

NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT) said earlier this year that it was looking at closing Brentwood Blood Centre, in Crescent Drive, to save money.

It would have meant the loss of the only remaining blood storage unit in Essex, raising fears that the delivery time to hospitals would increase by between 16 and 30 minutes.

The nearest blood centres would have been in Cambridge, Tooting and Colindale.

But NHSBT said after holding detailed discussions with hospital staff and unions about the proposals to close the Brentwood Stock Holding Unit the feedback they received was “invaluable”.

They added that the NHS Blood and Transplant Board agreed an alternative proposal to replace the existing stock holding unit with a smaller unit and will provide services to 14 hospitals in the Essex area.

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The blood donor centre will be relocated into Brentwood Community Hospital next door, in Crescent Drive.

A spokesman from NHSBT said: “The decision to retain a smaller Stock Holding Unit alleviates the concerns that were raised by some hospitals that the complete closure of the unit could have an impact on delivery times and the safety of patients.

“We are grateful to all those who took the time to engage with us and are happy that we have found a solution that meet the needs of hospitals and patients while contributing to the more efficient running of our service.

“The next steps are to seek final approval from the Department of Health and to take forward discussions with our staff.”

Eric Pickles MP for Brentwood and Ongar welcomed the plans. He said that the retention of the stock holding unit was good news and ensured that supplies of blood and blood products will be promptly available to local hospitals.

He added: “I am glad NHS Blood and Transplant took the time to listen to local users and tailor their plans for the future of the facility accordingly.”