Canadian Blood Services announces closure of Thunder Bay Plasma Centre

Decline in demand for plasma requires decrease in collections

March 29, 2012 (THUNDER BAY) – After careful review and consideration, Canadian Blood Services has decided to close the Thunder Bay Plasma Centre effective April 12, 2012. All Canadian Blood Services employees in Thunder Bay – 28 full-time and part-time employees combined, and two contract physicians – will be affected and were informed earlier this afternoon.

Over the past two years, new replacement products and a decline in hospital demand have led to a decrease in the need for plasma for transfusion. Based on current projections, Canadian Blood Services must plan for a reduction of approximately 10,000 units to our plasma collection program this year.

“As a not-for-profit organization funded by the provincial and territorial governments, the expectation is to provide a safe and efficient service aligned with the needs of our hospital customers. While maintaining the same level of safety, this change allows Canadian Blood Services to better match those needs,” says Chief Operating Officer Ian Mumford.

Other options for the Thunder Bay site were reviewed, including starting a blood collection program; however a sustainable alternative to the plasma program in Thunder Bay will not be possible.

The closure will have no impact on patient care in Thunder Bay or elsewhere in Canada as the plasma centre in Thunder Bay is a collections site only. Local patients will continue to receive the blood products they need from Canadian Blood Services’ Winnipeg production and distribution centre without disruption.

“We understand and are sensitive to the fact that closing the centre will be disappointing and impactful to employees in Thunder Bay. We will ensure that all staff are treated fairly and respectfully and that support measures are in place to address the needs of employees during their transition” says Bill Coleman, Director of Donor and Clinic Services for the Prairie Region. “We thank our local employees, donors, and volunteers for their years of dedication and their significant contribution to the national blood system.”

Our 1,500 donors, 70 community partners and 13 active volunteers will receive notification of the closure and proper acknowledgement for their support and loyalty.

The Thunder Bay Plasma Centre is scheduled to remain in operation through Thursday, April 12, 2012.

Interviews with Ian Mumford, Canadian Blood Services’ Chief Operating Officer, will be available upon request between 6 p.m. and 7 p.m. EDT on March 29 (today).

Bill Coleman, Director of Donor and Clinic Services for the Prairie Region, will be available for interviews upon request from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. EDT on March 30 (tomorrow).

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