27 January 2009
Minister opens Manufacturing Hall, Filton Blood Centre
Dawn Primarolo, Minister of State for Public Health and MP for Bristol South, visited the state-of-the-art blood centre in Filton yesterday to open the manufacturing hall.
Once fully operational, the £60 million NHS Blood and Transplant centre on the North Bristol Business Park will be the largest blood manufacturing centre in the world, operating 24 hours a day, seven days a week, with new manufacturing structures employing cutting edge technology in blood filtration, conveyor and storage systems.
The centre will manufacture up to 600,000 units of blood every year and provides a service to 14 million people and supplying patients at 90 hospitals throughout the Midlands and the South West.
At present, around 350 staff are currently based at Filton, and this will eventually increase to 450 500. Approximately 100 additional jobs have been created, with the possibility of more over the next two years.
The Minister was met by NHSBT Chairman Bill Fullagar, as well as Clive Ronaldson, Director of Patient Services; Stuart Penny, General Manager (Strategic Delivery), and John Kirkwood, Head of Centre.
Bill Fullagar welcomed the Minister to the Filton centre to unveil a plaque in the manufacturing hall. He said: 'The new manufacturing hall at Filton will process and store donated blood using the very latest technology. In addition to creating new jobs, the centre will deliver lifesaving blood products to hospitals throughout the Midlands and the South West providing a vital service to many patients.'
The Minister said: 'Blood donations are a lifeline across the NHS both in critical and long terms care. Key to this life giving service is the dedicated professionalism of the staff, combined with investment in infrastructure. The £60 million Department of Health capital funding has enabled the Filton Blood Centre to offer a world-leading facility that unites many services under one roof to anticipate NHS needs and provide a first class service.'
The Minister was shown around the various departments of the centre including Testing, Manufacturing, Stem Cell, British Bone Marrow Registry, International Blood Group Reference Library and Bristol Institute of Transfusion Science.
The British Bone Marrow Registry (BBMR), established by the National Blood Service (NBS) in the 1970s, has been based in Filton since September 2008.
Approximately 60 staff from Bristol Institute of Transfusion Science (BITS) are based at Filton. BITS is funded by the Department of Health and the National Institute for Health Research, bringing together NHSBT staff involved in research and teaching and staff at the University of Bristol, particularly those in the Departments of Cellular and Molecular Medicine and Biochemistry.
The Minister also met blood donors and patients who have received blood. Rajpal Singh, from Easton is a patient with thalassaemia and depends on blood transfusions every three weeks to stay well. Rajpal said: 'It was good to meet the Minister, she was very interested to hear about my experiences.'
To find out more about becoming a blood donor or to book an appointment to give blood, please call the National Donor Helpline on 0845 7 711 711 or log onto www.blood.co.uk
For further information, please contact Melissa Warren on 0117 921 7273 or 07764 280 851.
Notes to newsdesk:
National Blood Service
The National Blood Service is a part of NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT), a Special Health Authority within the NHS responsible for managing the National Blood Service, Bio Products Laboratory, and UK Transplant. NHSBT is responsible for optimising the supply of blood, organs, plasma and tissues and raising the quality, effectiveness and efficiency of blood and transplant services.
- Currently only four per cent of the eligible population give blood
- The National Blood Service loses 15 percent of its donors each year through retirement, relocation and ill health, so it is essential that new donors come along to their local sessions
- To be potentially eligible to become a blood donor you must be aged 17 to 65, weigh over 7st 12lbs and be in general good health, regular donors can keep on donating past the age of 70
- For further information on becoming a blood donor or to book an appointment to give blood, please call the National Donor Helpline on 0845 7 711 711 or log onto www.blood.co.uk