Community cooks up blood donor support
Community cooks up blood donor support

Only one in 30 people give blood, but one in three will need blood in their lifetime.

However, if you live or are travelling within the Kimberley, you cannot help.

Since the Red Cross Blood Service closed its Broome branch in January last year, and its Geraldton branch in January this year, blood donors have to travel to Darwin or Joondalup to do their bit.

Last week Opposition shadow health minister Roger Cook took up the cause during Parliament question time, passing on outrage of communities, including Broome and Geraldton, towards the government and particularly Health Minister Kim Hames.

Mr Cook asked if the Department of Health would investigate enabling blood donation collection points at major regional hospitals in the Kimberley, Pilbara, Gascoyne and Mid West regions, or a visiting mobile service to regional centres such as Broome, Port Hedland, Carnarvon and Geraldton.

“The government was fairly dismissive, saying the Red Cross runs it … that’s where we beg to differ,” he said.

Mr Cook said the staffing issues which were blamed for the closures should have been a flag to governments that it was time to step in.

Broome residents were incensed when the local centre closed, at the lack of community consultation and value they felt was placed on blood donations and financial, material and volunteer support which residents had poured into the service.

Eighteen months later, the community remains upset about the decision, according to Broome District Health Advisory Committee chairman Sally Winteridge.

Mrs Winteridge the committee was approached by community members in recent months to find out if there was a possibility the service could be reinstated.

“I totally agree, the service should be reinstated, without question,” she said.

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