SESSIONS for bloods donors in North Devon have been cut by more than half.
NHS Blood and Transplant has reduced blood donation locations from 13 to six following a service review.
In May, the Journal reported cuts were being made to blood donor sessions which could result in staff redundancies and longer journeys for donors.
And confirmation has now been received as to which locations will have their sessions cut in a move which Unison has called “ridiculous” and “unnecessary”.
Donation sessions will still take place in Bude, Barnstaple, Bideford, Holsworthy, South Molton and Chulmleigh.
But Unison claims this will see some people in North Devon having to travel up to 12 miles further to donate blood.
NHS Blood and Transport would not say which locations will have their sessions stopped and only confirmed the cuts will be phased in from the autumn, with no specific dates.
Unison have said it feared people would be deterred from attending blood donor sessions in the future due to the increased distance and cost.
Union spokesman Stuart Roden said: “The North Devon area has some of the most loyal donors anywhere in the country and when they’re short of donors nationally, we see this as a ridiculous move.
“People who rely on public transport in this rural area are not going to be able to jump on a bus to go 20 or so miles to give blood. I see this as another attack on rural communities.”
But the NHS said there were 38 donation sessions planned for the rest of the year and it encouraged people to get in touch regarding sessions in their area.
Peter Taylor, regional operations manager for NHS Blood and Transplant said: “As a publicly funded organisation, we have a responsibility to deliver our services as efficiently and effectively as possible so that more money is available to spend on frontline patient care.
“This means we sometimes have to make difficult decisions about how and where we collect blood.
“It would not be efficient to collect blood in every single village, town and city – so what we want to do is our best to ensure we are never too far away for those who want to donate while collecting the right amount of blood hospitals need.”