LETTER: Blood service to be proud of

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The Independent Online
From Dr E. Angela E. Robinson

Sir: I write to dispel the myths about the blood service given credence by Louise Jury in her articles "Death by a thousand cuts" (11 January) and "Hospitals rationed as blood stocks hit new low" (11 January). Yes, the blood service is going through a period of change, but, beyond the gut feeling that "we don't like it", no clinical concerns about patient safety remain unresolved, particularly with medical colleagues.

The suggestion that donors are "quitting in disgust" is simply untrue. More donations were collected in 1995 than ever before in the history of the blood service. Donations exceeded 200,000 per month on five occasions in that year, something never before achieved. It is apparent that our volunteer donors are more than willing to help the record number of patients being treated.

Blood stocks are currently low; this is not unusual for this time of year, but again through the generosity of our donors we are managing to meet hospital need. In December 1995, on average more donors were bled each day (9,200) than in any previous December. So far this month collection averages 9,960 per day.

We have a blood service to be proud of. It is becoming better through the responsible national co-ordination which the National Blood Authority has achieved.

Yours faithfully,

Angela Robinson

Medical Director

National Blood Authority

Watford, Hertfordshire

11 January