Blood bank moves its stock after building hit by floods
THE largest blood bank in the world has relocated its supplies to save its stock and keep up with hospital demand.
The NHS Blood and Transplant centre in Filton managed to move all stocks to alternative sites after the centre – located on a floodplain – was inundated overnight between Sunday and Monday.
The flooding was the result of a collapsed culvert believed to be owned by Network Rail.
The Post reported yesterday that the flooding had forced the centre to shut down.
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Workers at the centre contacted the Post and claimed that some blood supplies would have to be destroyed.
But the NHS insisted that no stock was lost during the incident and said that it is working with the Environment Agency to ensure that heavy rain in the future will not affect the life-saving service.
Staff at the 24-hour NHSBT site reported being up to their knees in water on Monday after the North Bristol business park was flooded.
One worker, who asked not to be named, said staff had been waiting for it to happen since the centre opened four years ago.
But the NHSBT Special Health Authority insisted that the risks were assessed properly before the site was opened.
A spokesperson said: "NHS Blood and Transplant has been able to maintain service to hospitals in the South West, despite the disruption.
"NHSBT operates from multiple sites throughout England and contingency plans include the ability to switch operations to other sites. These reprovisioning plans ensure that disruptive challenges to NHSBT operational activities do not affect the delivery of critical products and services to hospitals.
"Being able to quickly activate the plans also meant that the blood products in Filton were able to be safely moved to other centres, with no loss of these vital stocks.
"An assessment is underway to look at the longer-term implications for business continuity, the recovery of the centre and a return to normal operations.
"A risk forecast was determined and a factor added for additional rainfall due to climate change. The building's floor level was then set 300mm higher than the predicted maximum. We are working with the Environment Agency to investigate why, on this occasion, the building flooded."
The Environment Agency confirmed that they issued advice to the NHS about the location. A spokesperson said that the agency recommended some conditions on the building going ahead.
However, he added that he did not believe the flooding was due to the site's location on a floodplain.
He said: "The flooding at the site was caused by the culvert collapsing. We believe this culvert is owned by Network Rail and they've acted quickly to tackle the problem."
NHSBT in Filton is the largest blood manufacturing facility in the world, with more than 600,000 donations processed there each year. It serves 90 hospitals across the Midlands and the South West.