The New Brunswick government must decide if it wants to spend $23 million in upfront costs to set up its own blood agency or surrender the fight to keep its blood services operations in the province, according to a new report.

Health Minister Madeleine Dubé released the 187-page KPMG report on Tuesday. It was requested after Canadian Blood Services announced it would consolidate its services in Nova Scotia.

The consultant's report analyzed staying with the national agency, creating a stand-alone agency operated by the provincial government or negotiating with another agency, such as Héma-Québec.

"Ultimately, the question remaining is whether having production of whole blood in the Province is worth over $23 million of one-time costs, a minimum of a 15 per cent increase in steady-state costs, considerable effort in project and change management to implement the new model, and most importantly the risks involved in changing the system," the report said.

Canadian Blood Services plans to close the blood processing and delivery clinic in Saint John and consolidate operations in Dartmouth, N.S., by 2012.

Along with the plans to relocate the blood processing and delivery clinic,  Canadian Blood Services has announced plans for a stock holding unit for blood in the New Brunswick city, enough to meet day-to-day hospital needs.

The agency also plans to have donor collection sites in Saint John and Moncton.

The KPMG report rated the option of sticking with CBS the highest of the three proposals.

The report said New Brunswick physicians and blood bank technologists are satisfied with the CBS services and it said the agency has a strong international reputation.

"The Ministers of Health, who are the members of CBS, have sufficient confidence in the organization to have asked for an expanded CBS role in national coordination of organ and tissue transplant. The province needs to consider whether withdrawing from CBS is worth the risk, the cost and effort," the report said.

New Brunswick's health minister said she is not prepared to give up the fight to keep the blood service operation in Saint John.

"We want to make sure that we continue to fight for New Brunswickers," Dubé said.

"This is what I'm hearing that they want. This is what certainly that we would like is to stay with CBS and keep the whole production services right here in New Brunswick and Saint John."

NB Blood - Final Report March 28 2011