13 Dec 2017

Whangarei Hospital blood bank's accreditation suspended

6:03 am on 13 December 2017

The New Zealand Blood Service has been forced to step in to help run Whangarei Hospital's blood bank.

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(file photo) Photo: 123rf

International Accreditation New Zealand (IANZ) has suspended the blood bank's accreditation over staffing concerns.

IANZ, the national authority for accreditation of all testing laboratories in the country, said the hospital no longer had enough staff to guarantee its 24/7 service.

It is the only blood bank in the country to have its accreditation suspended, IANZ said.

Northland DHB general manager for pathology said in a statement the suspension followed the retirement of two experienced scientists.

"There were insufficient laboratory staff at Whangarei Hospital trained to the required standard in blood bank work to provide a continuous service without external support."

Every year, 120,000 units of blood are collected across New Zealand. Whangarei Hospital's Blood Bank uses 2.75 percent of processed blood.

In its contract with the New Zealand Blood Service, the hospital's blood bank has to be accredited to for it to be supplied with blood and blood products.

Despite the suspension, The Blood Service has agreed to let the hospital continue to supply blood with help from the service and other Northland labs.

"An agreement was reached between Northland DHB and New Zealand Blood Service (NZBS) to continue the supply ... to ensure a safe [and] consistent supply of blood for patients," Mr Potts said.

The DHB said the Blood Service was providing ongoing support to regain accreditation as soon as possible.

Mr Potts said Northland DHB was confident it would continue to provide a safe service to patients.

The Ministry of Health said it was aware of the situation and was in regular contact with the DHB.

The DHB is hiring new staff and training existing workers so it can meet the accreditation standard by early next year.

"We expect that the service will cease to require external staffing support by late January and we are confident of the suspension of accreditation being lifted by IANZ following this," it said.