Brentwood blood unit saved from closure

Eric Pickles, MP for Brentwood and Ongar. Picture: PA/ Suzanne Plunkett

Eric Pickles, MP for Brentwood and Ongar. Picture: PA/ Suzanne Plunkett - Credit: PA Wire/Press Association Images

The future of a blood storage unit in Brentwood has been secured.

Earlier this year, NHS Blood and Transport (NHSBT) said 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 the NHSBT board has said, after a lengthy consultation, that it will look at establishing a smaller storage unit at the current site and moving the donor suite to Brentwood Community Hospital, opposite the centre.

A NHSBT spokesman said: “The feedback we received from hospitals about our proposals proved invaluable for informing our thinking.

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“We are now discussing with hospitals, staff and unions the feasibility of a smaller replacement stock-holding unit in the Brentwood area to serve hospitals who would otherwise have been disadvantaged by the original proposal to close the SHU.”

Eric Pickles, MP for Brentwood and Ongar, welcomed the news, adding that it would be “foolish” to close the unit completely, given the concerns raised about the feasibility of providing supplies.

He had previously expressed concern that, if the closure went ahead, blood may not reach hospitals in time if there was gridlock on the M25.

This week he said: “The proposal to create a smaller SHU [stock-holding unit] to serve hospitals in Brentwood and further afield is to be welcomed as an alternative if services need to be streamlined further.

“I will continue to monitor the progress of this proposal, maintaining my call to NHSBT that, should any jobs be under threat, staff should be redeployed elsewhere if they choose.”

The unit supplies Queen’s Hospital, in Romford; Broomfield, in Chelmsford; and Southend.