A mobile blood donor clinic in Timmins today will be the last.
As the focus of the Candian Blood Services (CBS) centre based in Sudbury changes, blood donor clinics are ending in the northern Ontario communities it serves.
“The Canadian Blood Services is transforming our collection models in Sudbury from whole blood to source plasma. In summer/fall 2020, Sudbury will be the first community in Canada to open a state-of-the-art plasma donation centre, and that’s kind of why we’re winding down in the communities,” said Jenny Fortin, CBS north territory manager.
The change affects the mobile blood donor clinics in Timmins, North Bay, Sturgeon Falls, Espanola, Blind River, Elliot Lake, Sault Ste. Marie, New Liskeard and Kirkland Lake that are operated by the Sudbury-based team.
“We’re really grateful for all the support that we’ve had all these years,” said Fortin.
She said the change won't impact how patients access whole blood products in the north.
"We operate the national inventory which allows us to manage and control our inventory of blood and blood products to ensure that all the hospitals have a wide availability and range of products,” she said.
“This will help us increase plasma supply in Canada.”
According to CBS, "Plasma is the protein-rich liquid in blood that helps other blood components circulate throughout our bodies."
It's used to treat life-threatening conditions such as bleeding disorders, liver diseases, and certain types of cancer.
Plasma will only be collected at the new Sudbury plasma donation centre.
CBS said with the operating hours planned in Sudbury, it will be able to collect the plasma needed for the centre. The equipment to collect plasma is also "not as transportable as that for blood donations."
"While we understand this is a change for the generous blood donors in communities in Northern Ontario, we are taking steps to increase the amount of plasma collected in Canada to meet rising patient demand," said CBS in an email.
The final clinic at Paroisse St. Dominique in Timmins runs today (Nov. 20) until 5:30 p.m.
Fortin explained ways for people to continue to contribute to Canadian Blood Services.
"If they’re coming down to Sudbury or if they’re going to any major city across Canada then they can come and give plasma donation a try or they can continue to donate whole blood. Another option would be to go to blood.ca, there’s a lot of ways that people can contribute through the website,” she said, adding people can join the national stem cell registry, become an organ or tissue donor, or contribute financially.