Horsham Blood Donor Centre forced to close for six-eight weeks

ON THE JOB: Alan Cannane, Horsham Blood Donor Centre staff Jillian Cooper, Sarah Collins and Tracey O'Callaghan and Pam Ross celebrate the introduction of plasma donations in 2013. The blood bank will close until about September due to lack of staff. Picture: PAUL CARRACHER

ON THE JOB: Alan Cannane, Horsham Blood Donor Centre staff Jillian Cooper, Sarah Collins and Tracey O'Callaghan and Pam Ross celebrate the introduction of plasma donations in 2013. The blood bank will close until about September due to lack of staff. Picture: PAUL CARRACHER

A LACK of staff will force Horsham Blood Donor Centre to close later this month.

The temporary closure will start on July 24, with September 23 as a tentative date for reopening. The measure comes after several members of the centre’s small staff resigned for various reasons.

Manager Jill Cooper finished on Thursday after 20 years.

She said one staff member was going on maternity leave, while another was moving overseas. Others are also leaving to pursue other opportunities, taking the staff from six to one.

“It was unforeseen that people would be leaving,’’ she said.

State Donor Services manager Maureen Bower said the centre would operate under reduced hours from Tuesday.

She said it was a difficult decision to temporarily close the centre. 

But it was the only option.

“We can manage this kind of thing in a medium or large team,’’ Mrs Bower said. 

“But in a small team, it’s harder. It’s been unexpected.’’

Mrs Bower said the closure would not affect the Wimmera’s blood supply.

The Australian Red Cross Blood Service will now work on recruiting and training staff to reopen the centre as soon as possible.

The team needs to recruit a registered nurse with leadership skills, along with other registered and enrolled nurses.

Mrs Bower said the centre would remain closed until at least one registered nurse had been recruited and completed specialised whole blood collecting training.

She expected the process to take between six and eight weeks.

“We understand they are going to feel a bit shocked about this,’’ Mrs Bower said.

“Although it’s difficult, we’ve had to make this decision.’’

Mrs Cooper said people could donate blood and plasma at Ballarat, Warrnambool, Mildura and Bendigo.

Mrs Bower said from Tuesday until the closure, the centre would only take whole blood donations to ensure donor safety under reduced staff levels.

She said once a nurse was recruited, the centre would open on reduced hours.

The hours would expand as staff numbers increased. Mrs Bower said donors whose appointments were cancelled would be a priority to make a whole blood donation when the centre opened again.

She said people could view the positions available in the Wimmera Mail-Times, on seek.com.au or at donateblood.com.au.

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