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U-turn as blood centre is saved.

BLOOD service workers who campaigned against the closure of a North-East blood centre are celebrating victory.

The laboratory at Newcastle Blood Centre in Barrack Road was facing 70 job losses under plans by the National Blood Service (NBS) to close its processing and testing services.

But after a review of its plans after concerns were raised by staff, unions, hospitals and the public, the NBS is to keep the centre running as it is.

The centre was threatened after the NBS planned to shift work to three super centres, ending processing and testing at seven blood centres, including Newcastle.

Now, only three centres will close following extensive campaigning from unions including Unite and Unison.

Health union Unison regional officer Peter Chapman said: "This is good news for Newcastle as not only has it been saved, but there may well be a chance of additional work in the months or years to come.

"It is a purpose-built building and the lab was the centre of that, so staff were very concerned about the future of the centre if the lab closed.

"Now it's staying open, the centre has a long future in Newcastle."

However the centre may weather a small number of the 215 scientific and technical jobs to be lost across the country over the next three years.

But Mr Chapman believes the losses will be in single figures, if there are any at all.
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Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Date:Feb 7, 2008
Words:235
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