Blood Services head defends move
The head of Canadian Blood Services says New Brunswickers aren't getting a true picture of how blood services will run in the province after Saint John's processing and delivery clinic moves to Dartmouth next year.
Chief executive officer Dr. Graham Sher published an open letter in three of the province's daily newspapers Wednesday to correct what he claims are false allegations around patient safety, supply and costs.
Some New Brunswick doctors have told CBC they're concerned that blood products coming from Dartmouth won't be able to reach New Brunswick patients in time and that lives will be lost.
Blood collection and inventories will still stay in New Brunswick and the quality of blood won't change through consolidation, stressed Sher.
In addition, severing from the national blood system could set the province back millions of dollars, he warned.
"The startup costs to create a blood system from scratch are going to be enormous," said Sher. "There are going to be regulatory startup costs, equipment startup costs, pension issues, and insurance issues.
"We are most passionate about keeping New Brunswick with an integrated national world class blood system. I think New Brunswick would be much worse off if it went on its own."
The report by Growth Strategies, a copy of which was obtained by CBC News, said it would be cheaper than staying with the national agency.
It suggests an independent service would save the province more than $10 million in the first three years, resulting in payback of approximately 38 months.
N.B. exports not feasible
Sher also disputes the report's claim that an independent New Brunswick blood centre could turn a profit by exporting blood to other parts of the country.
"If New Brunswick were unfortunately not part of Canadian Blood Services, Canadian Blood Services has ample ability to ramp up collection within its own system elsewhere to meet our needs," he said.
"It's much more complicated to import blood with a different labelling system from a different organization than it is to manage inventory in your own organization.
"Canadian Blood Services wouldn't be in a position to buy New Brunswick blood, there would be no need for us to engage in regulatory complexities."
A previous government-commissioned report, released in July, suggested that New Brunswick's best option is to remain with Canadian Blood Services after it consolidates services in Dartmouth.
Although the report by KPMG stopped short of endorsing any of the three options under review – staying with the national agency, creating a new agency, or partnering with another agency such as Héma-Québec — it ranked sticking with Canadian Blood Services the highest.
The report said setting up a stand-alone agency at the Saint John facility would cost about $23 million.
Health Minister Madeleine Dubé has promised a decision soon on the future of blood services in New Brunswick.