Canadian Blood Services to shut down Brandon donor clinic

There will soon be fewer places to donate blood in Manitoba.

Canadian Blood Services is shutting down its Brandon site as of June 8, which also means 17 employees, including nurses, supervisors and other clinical staff, will be laid off this summer.

That means the only permanent site for blood donation in Manitoba will be in Winnipeg.

"These are very difficult decisions that we make and certainly our decision is, I'm sure, disappointing and it's not a reflection of the great team of the staff and volunteers we have there," said Susan Matsumoto, CBS's director of donor relations for the prairie region.

What it is, is a reflection of low donation numbers. The site has an annual target 5,000 units of blood per year but for the last five or six years it has only achieved about 75-80 per cent of that, Matsumoto said.

"It isn't collecting well. Our expectation, when we have a target, is that clinics collect very close to or at 100 per cent," she said.

Staff were advised last week about the closure and told that they would be provided with severance packages and transition services to support them in finding another job, Matsumoto said.

Anyone who is willing to relocate can apply for a job at the Winnipeg site.

"Otherwise they will be without employment in terms of our organization." 

There were also a number of mobile blood donor clinics that were run out of the Brandon site which served a number of communities in that part of the province. Those will be halted, too.

The last few mobile units in the Westman area will happen over the next few months, Matsumoto said.

Canadian Blood Services will, however, bring a mobile unit to Brandon every two weeks. It will come in on a Thursday and stay for four hours.

Despite the cutback in collections for western Manitoba, Matsumoto insists there is nothing for hospitals to be concerned about when it comes to their needs.

"I'd like to point out that this will certainly not affect patient services. We will continue to supply all the hospitals with the blood they need, when they need it," she said.