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Industrial Action by MLWU

NZ Blood Service Media Statement

Industrial Action by MLWU 27th November 2006

New Zealand Blood Service (NZBS) will be affected by the planned 7 day strike by members of the medical laboratory workers union (MLWU) due to commence on the 29th of November. The industrial action also involves laboratories in 15 of the District Health Boards (DHBs) and a number of community laboratories.

NZBS is the only organisation responsible for collecting, testing, processing and delivering blood products throughout the country. NZBS also operates the blood banks that do the pre-transfusion testing in six of the District Health Board hospitals.

NZ Blood Service has been working closely with the DHBs in order to ensure that the impact of the industrial action will be minimised and to ensure that those patients who need blood and blood products will continue to have access to it. The contingency planning processes have also involved the development of an agreement with the MLWU for support in provision of life preserving services if needed. NZBS has increased collection levels during the last two weeks to ensure that national stocks of blood will not be compromised during the period of industrial action.

NZBS has asked the DHBs and private hospitals to postpone elective surgery where there is a possible requirement for blood. This will reduce the demands on the Blood Service during the strike.

NZBS will continue to collect blood donations during the period of industrial action. Collection levels will however be lower than normal. The blood collection programme will be reviewed on a daily basis. In the event that specific blood collection sessions need to be cancelled then NZBS will ensure that affected donors are contacted.

‘Our message to donors is that if they have received an invitation or made an appointment to donate blood that they should continue to keep those appointments unless we tell them otherwise’ said Paul Hayes, NZBS National Marketing Manager.

ENDS

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