Union wants public inquiry into blood move

There should be a federal inquiry into plans to move blood production out of New Brunswick, the union representative for Canadian Blood Services workers says.

There should be a federal inquiry into plans to move blood production out of New Brunswick, the union representative for Canadian Blood Services workers says.

Mike Davidson, of CUPE, said he has little faith in a consultative process announced Tuesday by the provincial government.

 "We've had two years of consultations with the medical community," he said Thursday.

Canadian Blood Services announced plans in March 2009  to merge production operations into one site in Halifax.

Davidson said there's already been more than enough consulting. He does not believe a KPMG report that says 85 per cent of stakeholders — including physicians — have no problem with blood production moving to Halifax.

He said it's time the federal government got involved.

"As far as I'm concerned, this should be forwarded on to the federal Health department for an inquiry into this," Davidson said.

Last week Premier David Alward asked Prime Minister Stephen Harper if the federal government has the power to make the final decision.

Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq has already said matters relating to the location of Canadian Blood Services bases are an operational issue and not something the government would get involved with.

Davidson said this is not an operational issue. Rather, he said, getting blood to New Brunswick hospitals is a matter of public safety and he wants the federal government to launch its own inquiry.

On Tuesday, the provincial Department of Health launched a process to ask New Brunswickers for their feedback on blood options for the province as outlined in the KPMG report.

The firm looked at  the feasibility, accessibility and safety of each of the following three possible scenarios: 

  • Remain in partnership with Canadian Blood Services by adapting to the agency’s facilities redevelopment plan.
  •  Institute a stand-alone New Brunswick blood agency.
  • Partner with another established blood agency.

The KPMG report suggested the first option would be the best for New Brunswick.