Six blood donation sessions have been cancelled in Dover and Folkestone over concerns that Brexit-related traffic could stop blood being transported away from the donation site.
In response to a tweet from historian Marc Morris saying his partner had been informed her blood donation session had been cancelled, NHS Give Blood responded on Twitter:
“We have taken the decision to cancel blood donation sessions in Dover and Folkestone for a 2 week period before and a 6 week period after Britain’s exit from the EU.”
In a statement issued in response to other queries, NHS Blood and Transplant cited concerns over Operation Stack being put in place following Brexit.
Operation Stack is a protocol where lorries are queued, or ‘stacked’ along the M20, if there are delays at major ports.
Earlier this week, several major supermarkets including Sainsbury’s, Lidl and Morrisons signed a letter to MPs detailing their concerns over extra checks at ports after Brexit, saying that it would lead to reduced availability of food.
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NHS Blood and Transplant said only six donation sessions in the area would be affected, due to concerns over the ability for donation teams to reach locations, and donations being transported away.
Mike Stredder, Director of Blood Donation for NHS Blood and Transplant, said in a statement: “We have taken the decision to cancel donation sessions in Dover and Folkestone for a two week period before and for six weeks after Britain’s exit from the EU.
“This is because in the event of issues at Calais and other freight ports, Operation Stack may be put in place by Highways England and the Kent Police.
“This could lead to significant traffic in Kent and may prevent donation teams from reaching venues in the area or a donation leaving.
“This will only effect six blood donation sessions. Over the same period, we will hold around 2,700 other sessions elsewhere in the country. We will also hold replacement sessions at alternative sessions to compensate.
“There will be no effect on blood stocks or on our ability to supply hospitals.
“We’re grateful to all our lifesaving blood donors and we look forward to seeing them at their next donation.”