Yesterday afternoon I met with representatives from Canadian Blood Services in my Parliamentary office to stress the need for the Brandon clinic to remain open and for rural mobile clinics to continue to be made available. I reiterated my position that they should reverse their decision to permanently close the clinic and layoff the staff.
Since the Canadian Blood Services made the unilateral decision to close the clinic, many donors have highlighted concerns with the current location and the lack of days the clinic was open for blood donations. These issues were raised in our discussions and I believe they should be further explored.
When asked if their current lease is up at the Town Centre or if they need to break the lease when they close, and the costs associated with breaking the lease, they did not have an answer. The issue of how much money will be saved by permanently closing the clinic and running a mobile clinic out of Winnipeg came up and unfortunately that information was also not available. However, they did promise to respond with the information in the near future.
In media reports, one of the main reasons the Canadian Blood Services raised for closing the clinic, was the fact they were not meeting their donation targets. When asked what those specific targets are, I was not given an answer and they will also get back to me with that information.
I asked for firm target numbers as I believe that Westman residents will rise to the occasion and show that there is a sustainable donor base. Furthermore, I believe that if they would work with the community in relocating and having more available days to donate, their targets will be met.
In our discussion I also brought up the issue that Canadian Blood Services will cease to travel to rural communities to operate clinics and residents will now have to come to Brandon when the mobile unit is sent out from Winnipeg. I am concerned that they are abandoning many of their longstanding blood donors who live in rural areas.
In the weeks ahead I will continue to urge Canadian Blood Services to reverse their decision and I will stand up for the donors who roll up their sleeves and the employees who will be laid off. I am asking everyone in Westman to send an email to Canadian Blood Services and ask them to reverse their decisions to close the clinic. You can reach them at firstname.lastname@example.org and please CC my personal parliamentary email at Larry.Maguire@parl.gc.ca