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Blood donor sessions to stop in Beccles due to lack of suitable venue

PUBLISHED: 16:38 15 November 2017 | UPDATED: 16:38 15 November 2017

Blood donations in Beccles are stopping due to a lack of suitable venues. Photo: Bill Smith

Blood donations in Beccles are stopping due to a lack of suitable venues. Photo: Bill Smith

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People who volunteer to give blood in Beccles will now have to travel further afield after the NHS confirmed it would no longer be holding donor sessions in the town.

Beccles Public Hall.  PHOTO: Nick ButcherBeccles Public Hall. PHOTO: Nick Butcher

Since 2015, Beccles Public Hall has hosted NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT) when it visits the town but this arrangement has now ended and an alternative venue has not been found.

Donors were notified of the news during last week’s session with some members of the public left confused by the decision.

Local resident John Cushing said: “This seems a very short-sighted policy when clearly there is an increasing need for blood and Beccles’ residents are only too willing to do their bit.

“The sessions at the public hall are always oversubscribed and the NHSBT website states ‘many people would not be alive today if donors had not generously given their blood’.”

Blood donations in Beccles are stopping due to a lack of suitable venues.   Photo: Bill SmithBlood donations in Beccles are stopping due to a lack of suitable venues. Photo: Bill Smith

Mr Cushing fears potential donors may be put off as the nearest venue now available is “out in the sticks” at Belsey Bridge Conference Centre in Ditchingham.

Responding to such concerns the NHS revealed demand for blood is actually falling across England.

Darren Bowen, regional manager for NHSBT, said: “The demand for blood is reducing, partly because of improvements in clinical practice, such as keyhole surgery.

“We have to respond to this to make sure our blood donation programme is based on patient need by collecting the right amount of each blood group at the right time.

“It’s vital we collect blood effectively, so that we don’t waste precious donations.”

Across England NHSBT is moving towards a programme of offering larger nine bed sessions at larger venues in a bid to provide more appointments and collect more blood during each visit.

Mr Bowen added: “Beccles Public Hall is unable to accommodate a nine bed session and, unfortunately, we are not able to find a suitable alternative venue in the area.

“We appreciate some affected donors will be unable to travel to an alternative session and if they are unable to continue donating, we thank them for the lives they have already saved.

“We will ensure that any changes will not affect our ability to supply blood to local hospitals, so patients will still receive the blood they need.”

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