THE Brentwood donor centre is at risk of closure...less than a year after the NHS vowed to keep it open.
Last June, the NHS announced £1million plans to relocate the donor and blood storage centre in Crescent Drive as it was too big.
It intended to move the storage facility to another part of Brentwood - and the donor centre into the community hospital across the road.
But the relocation is now in jeopardy after advice from scientists the NHS requires less platelet donors - which the Brentwood centre does more of - as platelets can be taken from whole blood donations.
Up to 26 jobs are risk if a decision to close the centre is finalised next month.
Plans to relocate the storage unit will go ahead regardless of whether the donor centre closes.
One regular donor, who did not wish to be named, said: “I know the centre is on a very valuable piece of land so I suspect the NHS might look to sell it off, but that is purely speculation and I hope not.
“To close it would be the wrong decision as it provides a wonderful service to the community and NHS in general.”
If the centre does close, NHS Blood and Transplant hopes donors will still donate at community donor sessions somewhere in the area.
Jane Pearson, assistant director of Blood Donation Operations and Nursing at NHS Blood and Transplant said: “We hope donors understand that we should look at our plans again, given the recent recommendation, before committing over £1million to move the centre. If a donor centre is no longer required, we need to question whether investing is the right way to use public funds.”
Eric Pickles, the MP for Brentwood and Ongar, who fought to keep the centre open last year is not happy.
He said: “I’m disappointed given the obvious demand from local blood donors for the donor centre to remain in Brentwood as it is.
“I am going to meet with NHS Blood and Transplant to find out what options are available for the centre, now part of the services it offered have been moved out of Brentwood and the remaining parts are moving to other venues in the town.”
NHS Blood and Transplant is holding a number of drop-in sessions in the coming weeks to hear the views of staff and donors.
Sessions are taking place at the following dates and times: Thursday, April 17, 2pm to 8.30pm, Friday, April 25, 11am to 2pm, Tuesday, May 6, 4pm to 8.30pm and Monday, May 12, 11am to 2pm.