Union hits out at planned changes to blood donor sessions

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Opposition to changes to blood donor sessions in Horsham is being put forward by the public services union UNISON.

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

But UNISON is campaigning to keep donor sessions at the Blatchford Road site which, says the union, could be adapted “to collect more blood, and end the service’s over reliance on venues that far too often are ‘not fit for purpose’ or are prohibitively expensive.”

It claims that ending donor sessions at Blatchford Road “puts the long term future of blood collection in the Horsham area in doubt.”

UNISON spokesman Michael Walker said: “It is vital that we keep blood supplies as high as possible, especially when the NHS is facing one of its most challenging winters ever.”

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.

NHS Blood and Transplant spokesman Matthew Jones said: “Our Blatchford Road site is a base for our local mobile team and it will remain open, enabling the team to collect blood at community venues in Horsham and the wider area.

“We are currently consulting with colleagues about potential changes to the programme of activity for our Horsham based team and will listen to any suggestions put forward.

“NHS Blood and Transplant has looked at developing the Blatchford Road site but the costs are prohibitive.”