Red Cross Blood Bank to move to Broadmeadow

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NEWCASTLE’S blood donation service is moving out of its long-term home in Watt Street, with plans to set up a $2million state-of-the-art facility at Broadmeadow.

After 12 months of extensive research and surveying of its donors, the Australian Red Cross blood service announced on Tuesday it had chosen the ground floor of 165 Lambton Road, Broadmeadow, for the centre’s new locale.

Blood service spokeswoman Jemma Falkenmire cited the central location, improved parking and the potential to expand with the projected need for blood donations as reasons behind the decision.

Also, the closure of the Royal Newcastle Hospital in 2007 meant the blood service no longer needed to be located in the city, Ms Falkenmire said.

A development application has been lodged before Newcastle City Council, with the blood service’s project team confident it will be approved.

Once approved, the Australian Red Cross plans on spending $2million constructing a purpose-built centre that could be open for business as early as mid-2015, with the existing Watt Street centre remaining open until that point.

‘‘We did some research and spoke to our regular donors in the area and they told us that the current location in the city was not really central to where a lot of them lived and the parking was difficult,’’ Mr Falkenmire said.

‘‘The Watt Street centre was built in 1941 and was one of the first wartime blood panels outside of Sydney. It was definitely built there originally because of the link to the hospital, but there is no reason for it to be there now.’’

She said the new facility is in a good position to get blood delivered for processing and testing quickly.

It will receive more than 14,000 litres of donated blood each year, slightly up on what the service was collecting in Watt Street.

The announcement comes as the blood service prepares to celebrate National Blood Donor Week, between July 27 and August 2.

In the last 12 months, more than 500,000 blood donors have made more than 1.3million donations across Australia.

The service will recognise 100 Hunter donors for reaching milestones of 50 donations or more.

To make an appointment call13 14 95