Letter: Where blood is really needed

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From Dr M. I. Heatley

Sir: The anger with the National Blood Authority (NBA) that is leading donors in Liverpool to withhold blood is felt in Oxford also ("Blood stocks plummet to new low", 4 January).

There is a widespread sense of outrage, led by the Oxford Community Health Council, at the NBA plan to run down the Oxford Blood Transfusion Centre, despite a very strong protest by the community and by more than 100 medical consultants. These consultants have explained to the NBA that a major hospital for teaching and research, a centre of excellence, needs to keep its blood transfusion centre on site and intact in order to carry out organ transplants and cardio- thoracic surgery, and to treat leukaemic patients, rhesus babies and the victims of traffic accidents and stabbings.

But the NBA appears to be indifferent to the views of both the public and the professionals. Four senior managers have left the Oxford service prematurely, with one commenting that he did not wish to be part of a runaway disaster. Other long-serving experienced staff continue to leave, and individuals who have never been ill are now asking for sick leave. In short, we are seeing the demoralisation of an excellent service of which Oxford has been proud.

Yours faithfully,

M. I. Heatley


7 January