Unregulated workers pose risk to safe blood supply | National Union of Public and General Employees

Unregulated workers pose risk to safe blood supply

Canadian Blood Services plan to let unregulated employees perform health screening and assessments of blood donors is 'misguided' and should be abandoned.

Toronto (6 March 2009)  A plan by Canadian Blood Services (CBS) to replace registered nurses — who perform health screening and assessments of blood donors — with unregulated employees will risk the safety of Canada's blood supply, says the Ontario Nurses' Association (ONA).

The association calls the plan "misguided" and says CBS "should remember painful lessons learned during the tainted blood scandal of the 1990s."

CBS has told its registered nurses that it will train people with a high school education to become “multi-skilled employees” to perform the health screening and health assessment work done by registered nurses at 40 Canadian permanent collection sites. It supervises more than 20,000 donor clinics annually.

“Canadian Blood Services was created as a result of one of the largest public health catastrophes in Canada’s history, when thousands of Canadians received tainted blood transfusions," says ONA president Linda Haslam-Stroud. "They were infected with HIV and the hepatitis C virus, and the Krever Commission clearly emphasized that the safety of the blood supply was to be of paramount importance for CBS.”

The association is demanding that CBS abandon the plan.

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The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 340,000 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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