THE Red Cross has no intentions to downsize Warrnambool’s blood donor service after revealing plans last week to close its centre in Hamilton.
Dwindling donations and manpower were blamed for the closure of Hamilton’s centre, which will now be serviced by mobile units twice a year.
In a statement to The Standard, Australian Red Cross Blood Service Donor Services manager Maureen Bower said Warrnambool was not on the radar for any changes.
“There are no plans to close the Warrnambool Blood Donor Centre,” Ms Bower said. “In October 2013 the blood service introduced plasma collections to the centre, allowing Warrnambool’s generous donors the opportunity to save even more lives.
“The decision to move to a mobile collection service (for Hamilton) is not about cost, but about the ability to collect blood and best use of our valuable resources.
“The specialist equipment used to collect blood in Hamilton sits idle five days a week, which is not an efficient use of taxpayer funding. Due to a decline in the local population, expansion of the existing centre is not an option.”
Donations had also been declining, she said.
Four part-time roles have been axed at the centre, with Red Cross management promising to help find work for the affected staff.
Southern Grampians acting mayor Peter Dark said the decision came as a shock.
“Council has already offered to assist the mobile donor van find a suitable location in Hamilton and we will continue to promote this valuable community service,” Cr Dark said.
“The most important thing though is that people keep donating blood.”
Meanwhile, Warrnambool’s blood collection service raised more than 5000 blood donations over the 2012-13 period.
There have been more than 250 plasma donations since October.