Alberta health careworkers welcome ban on paid blood donations

“Some things are too important for profit to play a role. The collection of life-saving blood products is a critical part of our health care system and introducing a profit motive undermines the safety and security of those vital supplies." Mike Parker, HSAA President

Edmonton (14 March 2017) — The Alberta government’s decision to ban paid donations for blood and blood products will save lives, save money and protect the health of Albertans, says Health Sciences Association of Alberta (HSAA/NUPGE).

Profit undermines safety and security of blood donations

“We are delighted to hear that this government has learned the lessons of the tainted-blood scandal in the 1980s that claimed 8,000 Canadian lives, infected about 30,000 with HIV and Hepatitis C, and cost billions of dollars in financial settlements,” says Mike Parker, President of HSAA/NUPGE, the union that represents about 25,000 health care professionals, including nearly 300 that work for Canadian Blood Services (CBS).

“Some things are too important for profit to play a role. The collection of life-saving blood products is a critical part of our health care system, and introducing a profit motive undermines the safety and security of those vital supplies,” says Parker.

Ban on cash for donations takes lessons from Krever inquiry

“The Krever inquiry into the tainted-blood scandal said that blood donors should not be paid. We’re delighted and relieved that the Alberta government has acted to stop paid-blood and paid-plasma donations," Parker says. 

“The best way to ensure the safety of our supplies is to keep donations voluntary and to keep the collection in the hands of the public service, rather than corporations, where we have better tracking and transparency," noted Parker. "The cost of privatization and profit in this area can be in human lives. It’s a price we don’t want to pay again."

Parker continued, “Offering cash for donations has often led to high-risk donors, including addicts and the sick, to lie about their health in order to get money. Indeed, in some areas where this is accepted you find donation locations near drug clinics and homeless shelters. Thanks to the Voluntary Blood Donations Act, this is a picture we won’t be seeing on the streets of Alberta.”

NUPGE

The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 370,000 members. Our mission is to improve the lives of working families and to build a stronger Canada by ensuring our common wealth is used for the common good. NUPGE

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