One of two blood donor centres in Leeds is to close.
The Leeds Bridle Path Donor Centre in Seacroft will shut on January 27 following a review by NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT) which found that the amount of blood and platelets needed could still be collected through the other facility on the Headrow in Leeds city centre.
A total of 19 members of staff will be affected, and a consultation process has involved discussing the possibility of redundancies and transferring to other roles within NHSBT.
Mike Stredder, director of Blood Donation for NHS Blood and Transplant, said: “We hope people understand we are making this change in order to keep costs for the wider NHS as low as possible. We currently have two donor centres in the city of Leeds just a few miles apart. Most cities only have one donor centre.
“Our review showed that we can collect the right amount of blood and platelets more cost-effectively at our city centre location, where there is a much larger donor base and more ability to increase our number of appointments for donors.
“This closure will not affect our ability to supply blood to local hospitals.
“We appreciate that this change may be unsettling for some donors and we hope they understand the reasons behind the decision. We greatly value their life saving commitment, dedication and generosity and we look forward to welcoming them when they come to donate at our Blood Donor Centre at The Headrow in the city.”
He added that blood use by hospitals is declining and the service did not want to waste donations by collecting more blood than patients need.
They also want to reduce the amount of platelets collected by apheresis machines, the type mainly available at the Bridle Path Centre, and instead pool platelets from donations of whole blood.
The Seacroft centre is open to platelet donors on Mondays and Fridays only, until January 27.
* Fears have been raised that the closure could affect the amount of blood donated.
Elaine Deighton, who worked at the centre for 20 years before retiring last summer, said: “Donors used to say that if the centre closed, they wouldn’t come. It’s a serious mistake to close it.”
Her husband Raymond added: “They are going to lose a lot of donors. People go there because it’s handy and easy to park. They are closing a perfectly good unit.”
The site is also home to other facilities run by NHSBT and a review is underway of the estate because the service says it is too big for their needs. A proposal to create a new regional centre between Sheffield and Leeds is due to be considered next year.