Canadian Blood Services confirms it will no longer hold blood donor clinics in Digby.
The decision is based on financial constraints and low donor turnout. The last donor clinic was held in the fire hall in early 2011.
The nearest blood donor clinics now are held in Greenwood, Clare and Yarmouth.
Paul Doucet of Canadian Blood Services in Halifax, said that like many government-supported not-for-profit organizations, they have had to streamline operations and reorganize blood collection routes to maximize efficiency.
“In recent years, some clinics have shown a decline in attendance,” he said. “We are faced with the same financial restraints as other organizations and must actively demonstrate that we are making the most of our financial resources.”
As a result, Canadian Blood Services looked at the average donor turnout at various rural donor clinics and cut Digby from its collection route last year. Clinics are still held in Clare, Greenwood and Yarmouth, as well as Windsor, Wolfville, Kentville and Berwick.
Among those disturbed by the change is Maureen Pardy of Bear River, whose life was saved by a blood transfusion when her daughter was born.
She said she knows the value of that simple gift.
“What is the price of life and blood?” she said. “It’s unfathomable to me that they would cut out Digby when it’s right on the way to Yarmouth.”
She added she’s always hearing pleas for more blood donors and her husband has been a willing donor since he was a teenager. But now he would need to travel an hour to donate blood.
It’s unfathomable to me that they would cut out Digby when it’s right on the way to Yarmouth - Blood recipient Maureen Pardy
“I’m really upset,” she said. “Do they really expect him to drive all that way after working all day, just to give blood?”
Doucet said the decision about Digby was based on the average turnout from the last number of clinics from June, 2009, through February, 2011. On average, the clinics were collecting only 61 per cent of the units they needed to justify the resources used.
Clinics in other parts of the Valley and southwestern Nova Scotia collect an average of 96 to 115 units per blood donor clinic. In the past, the Digby clinic was well supported, he said averaging about 100 units per visit, but in 2009 that dropped almost by half, averaging about 60 donors per visit.
“It’s discouraging for everyone,” he said. “It’s hard for our folks, too. We wish we could go everywhere, our staff looked forward to going to these communities and seeing the regulars.”
Doucet added that if enough donors were to express interest in having the clinics return to Digby, it is possible the route will be re-examined next year. For more information, contact Doucet by phone at (902) 474-8239 or email email@example.com