McArthur meets with new SNBTS Director

Orkney's MSP, Liam McArthur, today (Monday) met with the new Scottish Blood Transfusion Service Director (SNBTS), Professor Marc Turner to discuss the possibility of setting up more regular donation sessions in Orkney.

Mr McArthur wrote to the SNBTS earlier this month asking them to look again at this issue, following a parliamentary debate on the campaign to encourage more people to donate.  It follows news that the number of people donating blood in Scotland dropped by 13,000 over the past year, with Scotland having fewer registered blood donors than at any other point this century.

In response to Orkney's MSP, the SNBTS confirmed that they will be carrying out a "systemic review of our blood donation programme" over the next year in order "to enhance resilience and sustainability of the blood supply in this context."

SNBTS held a highly successful trial donor session in Orkney in 2009 with a view to establishing whether a more regular arrangement could be put in place.  However, feasibility studies concluded in 2017 that there were "significant issues" in transporting blood reliably back to the mainland.  

Commenting after the meeting, Mr McArthur said:

"I am in no doubt about the appetite in Orkney to support the work done by SNBTS.  This was very evident during the earlier pilot back in 2009 and, more recently, by those getting in touch with me to voice support for my efforts to persuade SNBTS to look again at providing opportunities for donations to be made in Orkney.

"I would like to thank Professor Turner for his positive engagement on this issue and willingness to consider all options.  During our meeting today, he highlighted the review that is underway and offered an assurance that this would look at the feasibility of mobile units travelling to the islands.

"In fairness, some of the logistical challenges remain and Professor Turner was at pains to point out that these may yet prove insurmountable.  However, given the strong community support in Orkney, I am confident that some of the costs and logistical issues could be overcome and offered to provide whatever assistance I could in that respect.

"In the meantime, we have agreed to a follow-up meeting later in the year to consider the progress made through the SNBTS review."

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