STRUCTURE: Plans to axe two mobile blood collection units in West Sussex have been criticised by unions.

The proposals could involve closing two smaller blood collection teams that work in the Horsham area.

The move, which would take place in the autumn, is part of a NHS Blood and Transplant decision to close and merge teams as part of a national re-organisation to improve efficiency.

An NHSBT spokesman said the proposed changes involved two bloodmobiles and some of staff based at its centre in Blachford Road, but highlighted that no final decision had yet been made on their future.

The closure would affect mobile collections in Wivelesfield, Elstead, Milford, Rustington, Mertsham, Godalming, Ripley, and Storrington. A number of company blood collection sessions would also be terminated as a result.

Unison has warned that ending the village blood collections could have long term consequences, as the sessions were often early day sessions and cutting them could exclude people from giving blood. 

The union said it was entering into negotiations with the blood service over the proposals.

In a response statement, NHSBT insisted there would still be regular blood donation sessions in the area.

NHSBT regional operations manager Jackie Morgan said: “By making some changes to our session timetables and where we hold our sessions we will be able to run a more efficient service, while still meeting the needs of patients.”

She added: “The closure of the mobile blood team in Horsham could affect a maximum of nine employees, but we are doing what we can to reduce job losses and some vacancies have already been identified on the remaining Horsham team.”