By Wendy Spooner
BLOOD donations in Tamworth will hopefully increase after the Tamworth Blood Donor Centre made its long-awaited shift to new premises on Friday.
The $1.5 million centre will officially open on Saturday, September 8.
Extra beds and a larger environment in which to operate should boost donations to 12,000 per year, NSW Public Affairs spokeswoman for the Australian Red Cross Blood Service, Jemma Falkenmire, said last week.
Opening hours will be extended and the centre will operate six days a week including Saturdays.
More than 50 years of being based at Tamworth hospital is coming to an end.
“(The move) is a milestone for us,” Ms Falkenmire said.
Tamworth Blood Donor Centre community relations officer Sandee Thompson said it was a very exciting time for the centre’s staff and their highly valued donors.
“While our current site at Tamworth Rural Referral Hospital has served the community of Tamworth well for more than 50 years, we have now reached a point where we have outgrown the premises,” Ms Thompson said.
The new centre is state-of-the-art, with an open-plan layout, more interview rooms and more donors’ chairs.
Ms Thompson praised Tamworth hospital for its long, supportive association.
“The team at Tamworth Blood Donor Centre is so grateful to have been located within the grounds of the hospital for so many years,” she said.
“Many of the staff at Tamworth hospital are regular whole-blood or plasma donors – and we thank each and every one of them for their life-saving donations over many years.”
Attendees of a farewell barbecue held last Tuesday in the hospital grounds consumed 200 sausages and 12 loaves of bread.
“A number of hospital staff commented that this was the largest turnout to an on-site barbecue for a long time, which I think is a wonderful example of the strong and positive relationship shared between our two organisations,” Ms Thompson said.
In 1947, the first voluntary donor panel was established in Tamworth so blood would be available in urgent medical emergencies when there was no time to obtain supplies from Sydney.
In 1962, NSW regional blood banks were established in towns such as Tamworth.
The new Tamworth Blood Donor Centre will be located at Shop 5, The Lifestyle Centre, Ringers Rd.
To donate blood, call
13 14 95 or visit www.donate