A bloody waste



Murwillumbah will soon have its blood bank back after being closed since April, but doubts have been raised about the level of blood donor services in the region.

While Murwillumbah was offline, the closest place to donate blood was Lismore, or to cross the border to a mobile blood unit operating on the Gold Coast.

The Ewing St building which the blood bank operated from is owned by the Murwillumbah Hospital and it was forced to close after a severe termite infestation.

Its chief executive, Ian Murray, said the hospital's maintenance staff had "worked their bums off" to get the facility ready and all work was finished on Friday.

Now all that is required is an inspection by the Red Cross and a resumption of services.

Mr Murray said the hospital was very keen to get the service back as it was vitally important.

He said the closure was unfortunate but the hospital had been mindful of getting the blood bank open as soon as possible.

But the service only operates for half a day a week and Mr Murray can remember a time when the service was open in Murwillumbah for four days a week.

In contrast, services over the border in Queensland have increased with mobile units operating more regularly in Coolangatta, Elanora, Palm Beach, Burleigh, Mermaid Waters and Southport.

There are no mobile units operating in northern NSW and the Queensland units cannot work in NSW as the nurses are not qualified to work in the state.

Red Cross' Catherine Huley said the Murwillumbah Blood Bank would be open on Tuesday, June 28 from 2pm through to 6.30pm and then on a regular basis every Tuesday during those hours.

"There will be a review of hours from August 1, but in the meantime, anyone wishing to make an appointment is free to contact us on 13 14 95 during office hours," she said.



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