Thursday, July 30, 2009

Saint John Board of Trade urges Canadian Blood Services to reconsider

The Saint John Board of Trade is urging Canadian Blood Services to reconsider their decision to close the Saint John production center on University Avenue. The Saint John Regional Hospital is the tertiary care, level one trauma hospital in our province, it requires fast, secure, reliable access to blood products. Our Province and our City have a large industrial sector and rely upon this access to blood products for contingency planning.

In addition to tertiary care, the Saint John Regional Hospital also provides oncological, surgical, and haematological services which require blood products. Haematologists will be challenged to continue their program without a blood production centre nearby. Also, it puts the recent bone marrow transplant program in jeopardy.

The Saint John Regional Hospital, as part of the provincial trauma system, has experience in working with other hospitals in all regions of our province, both quickly and efficiently. As the new trauma system grows, access to blood products will become more important. The trauma system and cardiac centre, which are high users of emergency platelets which are needed within hours, require close proximity to a blood production centre. The production centre in Saint John has a proven track record of working with the hospitals throughout the province to provide the blood required to places like Fredericton and Moncton’s cancer and surgical units which rely upon this service within hours. The Saint John production center has been recognized nationally as a centre of excellence.

“Health is one of the growth sectors our community identified in the True Growth Strategy. Keeping a blood production centre on University Avenue compliments the hospital, the new Provincial Anglophone Medical Program at UNBSJ, and the co-location of the medical programs of NBCC-SJ at the Tucker Park campus. As a centre of excellence, there is great potential and opportunity for the further development of the Saint John production center and the Medical Program of both UNBSJ and NBCC-SJ” said Imelda Gilman, President of the Saint John Board of Trade.

The Board of Trade would like to see the business plan for moving the production centre to Halifax. “To our knowledge no one in New Brunswick has been provided with a copy of this plan. We just want to know how moving blood products multiple times across two provinces is more advantageous, economical, and sustainable than the system that is currently in place; a system that works very well all year round” stated Ms. Gilman. After consultation with some of our medical members, the Board of Trade understands that since the implementation of Phase 1 of the Canadian Blood Services plan, the amount of platelets that has been wasted has increased. The platelets have gone from having a 5 day life span to 36 hours.

“We support the work of Minister Jamieson and the bi-partisan committee of doctors, politicians and community leaders in their quest to explore all options beyond Canadian Blood Services, including a potential partnership with our neighbours in Quebec” Ms. Gilman stated.

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