© New Zealand Broadcasting School 2021

Blood bank too far away: 'Somebody could die'

Kenzie Jennings-Gruar

Christchurch hospital blood bank is located too far away from critical care patients, putting lives at risk, staff say.

The Canterbury District Health Board Blood Resource (blood bank) is located on the lower ground floor of the Christchurch Hospital. That is 200 metres away from the acute services building.

Two CDHB Blood Resource technicians, who asked for anonymity due to fear of losing their jobs, said the distance created inefficiencies and wastage in transporting blood.

The blood from the bank needs to be dispatched and returned within 30 minutes, according to the New Zealand Blood Service. Anything beyond that time frame means the blood, which has a value of up to $400 per 300ml, goes to waste.

They said the immense pressure hospital staff were under as a result could lead to mistakes that put the lives of patients at risk.

"Surgeons are so anxious about it not being there on time... they are pre-ordering it which results in complete blood wastage."

The blood bank had been "forgotten about" in the planning for the $500 million Acute Services building, which opened in 2020, the technicians said.

The technicians feared it would take a patient's death before action would be taken.

"We don’t want to wait until somebody dies before this gets resolved."

CDHB clinical lead for facilities Dr Rob Ojala acknowledged the location of the blood bank was "not ideal".

The health board was working closely with the New Zealand Blood Service to find a solution, Ojala said.

The location of the Canterbury District Health Board Blood Resource (blood bank) in relation to the Acute Services building.