Is it time to pay blood givers?
The Medical Scientists Association of Victoria (MSAV) is warning that organisational changes being pursued by the Australian Red Cross Blood Service to implement a manufacturing model, and to be known as a ‘great manufacturer’, will reopen the debate about paying people to give blood.
“The Red Cross Blood Service, in its ideologically driven pursuit to become a so-called manufacturer, is putting at risk Australia’s notion of donating blood,” said Dr Rosemary Kelly, secretary of MSAV.
Dr Kelly continued:
“The nation’s only blood collection, testing and processing service is slashing scientist positions from testing and processing blood donations, so the Red Cross Blood Service can become a ‘lean’ manufacturer.”
“A so-called humanitarian organisation believes that by dumbing down the Red Cross Blood Service, and implementing manufacturing methodologies, they can improve productivity.
“If the Red Cross Blood Service believes it is a ‘great manufacturer’ then it’s time to rethink the model of donations for collecting blood and it’s time for a debate about paying people to give blood.
“It is the human body that actually manufactures blood so the Red Cross Blood Service should be required to pay for all input costs, including blood, for its business, just like any other manufacturer.
“And what makes these changes even worse is that the Red Cross Blood Service is one of the few non-government organisations in Australia that have their funding increased to ensure there is a safe and reliable blood supply.
“The drive to become a ‘great manufacturer’ is purely about saving a few dollars despite the Red Cross Blood Service returning surpluses for the last four years and being entirely funded by the Australian taxpayer.
“In light of the Red Cross Blood Service slashing scientist positions and dumbing down qualifications, the MSAV is calling on Australia’s health ministers to immediately investigate the impacts these plans will have on the safety and reliability of our blood supply.” Dr Kelly said.