Shake-up of blood donor sessions

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A shake-up is being planned to blood donor sessions in Horsham.

Blood donations currently held in Blatchford Road, Horsham, are to be halted and switched instead to the Horsham YMCA Football Club from next year.

The move is likely to lead to around three NHS job losses but officials say they will try to redeploy people affected in neighbouring teams.

Around 1,200 people regularly give blood at the NHS Blood and Transplant team base in Blatchford Road which hosts weekly donor sessions.

Officials say that the switch of venue would allow increased numbers of donor sessions to be held at the football club premises - up from 12 to 18 - but that the team base in Blatchford Road would remain as a base, rather than a donor centre/clinic.

Mobile blood services will continue to be based there, and will continue to operate at community venues in the area.

A spokesman said: “The team base in Horsham can only accommodate three donation chairs whilst Horsham YMCA Football Club can support nine.

“Collecting more blood at the football club will allow us to offer more appointments during each session. This can allow us to deliver better value for the NHS in how we collect blood.”

Meanwhile, donors are being asked to keep appointments they have already booked.

NHS Blood and Transplant spokesman Mike Stredder said: “We are very grateful to all those who give up their time to donate blood. Their generosity helps save and improve the lives of patients across the country.

“While hospitals are using less blood that in previous years, we still need to collect 1.5m units of blood a year. We look forward to seeing our loyal donors at their next donation.”

Officials say that every blood donation can save or improve up to three lives and each day around 6,000 donors are needed across England to meet patient need.

Donors from O negative - the universal blood group - A negative and B negative are needed to donate regularly as stocks of these blood groups are more vulnerable to shortfalls.

More black and south Asian people are also needed to become donors.