The SNBTS proposals, which are out for consultation until 26 August, involve a two-phase restructuring of services.

In phase one, there would be a national management structure for blood collection, processing, testing and stock control, concentrating processing and testing on two 'state-of-the-art' centres in Edinburgh and Glasgow.

The second phase, beginning in April 1999, would focus on reducing bureaucracy and improving administrative support. Both phases should be completed by December 1999.

But processing and testing will be taken away from the SNBTS regional centres at Inverness, Dundee and Aberdeen and this is causing anxiety among local clinicians.