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Union calls off strike over closure NHS Blood and Transplant department
Union members have called off industrial action over plans to close the NHS Blood and Transplant department in Colindale.
Unite decided against strike action after NHSBT agreed to have further discussions with representatives from the union about the plans to move the services to Filton.
The NHSBT Board believe the proposal will give a 20 per cent improvement in productivity and potential savings of approximately £1 million per year, which can then be passed on to frontline patient care.
But the union is concerned about the plans which would mean blood samples from London and the south east would be transported for more than two hours for testing at Filton.
Currently, Unite members in Colindale are in charge of testing samples of blood taken from donors to check on its features and to assure it is safe to use.
Unite’s head of health Rachael Maskell said: “Employers have to listen to their staff. Now NHSBT is willing to engage properly with us. That’s really positive not only for staff that work there but also for the public who make donations.
”We want to ensure our highly trained scientists are providing effective and efficient services for patients. They’re really concerned that the proposals were unsafe.”
A recent flood at the Filton site meant all blood testing was redirected to a centre in Manchester and the soon to be closed Colindale department. As a result, scientists are worried there would not be enough facilities to properly test the blood, if a similar situation were to happen in the future.
The planned transfer, which is expected to take place in February next year, has also caused concern over possible redundancies.
A spokeswoman for Colindale NHSBT said: “In addition, although it is not always possible to avoid compulsory redundancies, in these particular circumstances at Colindale NHSBT has stated their commitment to achieving the staff changes through non-compulsory means.”
The Union can decide to take industrial action without the need for a further ballot.