A fire destroyed this blood service mobile unit over the summer. Amid the lowest inventory levels in six years, CBS executives have decided not to replace it or the 7500 units of blood it collects annually.
Canadian Blood Services is telling staff that national blood inventory levels are at their lowest since 2008.
In a memo sent out September 30, Chief Supply Chain Officer Ian Mumford calls it “a serious performance gap,” leaving an already demoralized staff to wonder if they are being blamed for poor decisions made by the organization’s executives.
CBS has been dismantling much of its infrastructure around volunteer collections in recent years, including the closures of entire facilities in Thunder Bay, Ontario and Saint John, New Brunswick in 2012.
When an Ottawa-based bloodmobile caught fire this summer, CBS thought the volumes generated by it were insignificant and chose not to use the insurance to replace it. That blood mobile collected 7500 units a year.
Another mobile truck that could generate similar volumes has been sitting idle in an Ottawa yard for most of the year.
When appeals are issued, the call center staff in Sudbury are usually swamped. We’re told the phones ring off the hook and there are too few staff to answer all of these calls. That too has an impact on inventory — but that’s not all.
The message was sent out at 4:06 pm on a Friday to staff at Canadian Blood Services. Described as a “developing situation,” Chief Operating Officer Ian Mumford told workers that the previous night the agency issued a recall of 1,500 units of blood used mostly by low birth weight infants and immune compromised patients.
The accompanying press release was posted on CBS’ website, but not on the news release service the agency normally employs.
The recall is the second at Canadian Blood Services within a year, the previous taking place in October when it was revealed donors in Regina had not be subject to all the normal precautionary screening questions. That resulted in a recall of blood donations going back 12 months.
This time it was the Calgary donor testing laboratory that had failed to do routine testing for cytomegalovirus (CMV) – a type of herpes virus. The lapse in testing took place between July 30 and August 2.
According to Wikipedia, this CMV “infection is typically unnoticed in healthy people, but can be life-threatening for the immunocompromised, such as HIV-infected persons, organ transplant recipients, or new-born infants.” That is the target group for the blood product under recall.
CBS says they still have 250 units, which will be relabeled and sent out for general use. and that there are about 400 units remaining on hospital shelves which will be subject to the recall. The rest have either been already used or, according to Mumford, are outdated.
Canadian Blood Services executives Andrew Pateman and Ian Mumford.
Canadian Blood Services says the organization of the future is going to require fewer people. Caught in a funding squeeze by their provincial funders, CBS says they have to compete with other health priorities and money is getting tighter and tighter.
“The focus is not on cost cutting, but on process improvement,” says Andrew Pateman, Vice-President of Talent Management and Corporate Strategy for CBS. Speaking in Toronto November 2nd at a national meeting of unions representing more than 4,000 CBS workers, Pateman spoke about using new technology and reducing steps to improve process efficiency.
Pateman said meeting with the provinces was like getting in a mixed martial arts ring. “We’re getting beat up,” he said.
In his 18 months with the organization Pateman says he has conducted two employee surveys, the results of the second being calculated now. He said he wasn’t surprised that staff felt that “management was not leading in the way they should.”
Both Pateman and Chief Operating Officer (COO) Ian Mumford acknowledged they had work to do in better communicating with staff, including involving front line workers in the decision-making process. Mumford had specifically asked to address the meeting organized by labour.
The CBS COO said they expect managers to carry on a variety of roles from donor and client relations to good financial management. On top of that they are expected to be skilled negotiators and be able to manage labour relations between contracts.
In sports they call it plays of the week. For us, it’s just our way to address the pile up of issues surrounding health care this week.
Labour issues are very important to us given OPSEU presents more than 41,000 members who work in our health system, about 700 more having voted to join us in just the last month. They include health care workers at such diverse locations as Orillia’s Soldier’s Memorial Hospital, London Health Sciences, the Oshawa Health Centre and Trellis Mental Health and Development Services, located throughout much of Southern Ontario. Therefore the Ontario PC white paper proposing changes to the province’s labour laws certainly caught our attention. What was more surprising, as our translator pointed out, is the Tories rushed it out in English only. Do the Tories understand there are more than 580,000 francophones who live and vote here? The PC web site offers no French button like we do here at Diablogue.
Canadian Blood Services has announced it is opening a second National Contact Centre (NCC) in Saint John, New Brunswick. The announcement follows CBS’ closure of its blood distribution centre in that city earlier this year. The present NCC is in Sudbury, Ontario. CBS Chief Operating Officer Ian Mumford says Saint John was chosen because of the presence of a bilingual workforce, although the city of 128,000 (metropolitan) is one of the more anglophone parts of the province. It has a large cross at the tip of the downtown peninsula celebrating the arrival of the Irish. The most recent census shows a little over 5,000 residents who have French as their mother tongue. Did Mumford confuse Saint John with Moncton? Mumford also says a second national call centre is necessary “for business continuity,” suggesting that “in the event of a crisis, people who need to contact Canadian Blood Services will always be able to do so.” Crisis? This is a phone centre that handles both inbound and outbound calls with donors and arranges appointments for the donation clinics. Ontario politicians may want to pay attention to the jobs, as Mumford is stating the current contact centre work will be redistributed and that additional information will be provided after a “more detailed staffing analysis is complete.” CBS closed its Thunder Bay operation in April of this year, shedding about 25 northern jobs.
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Tagged Andrew Boozary, Canadian Blood Services, Canadian Doctors for Medicare, English only PC paper, Ian Mumford, Jason Kenney, Leona Aglukkaq, London Health Sciences, Oshawa Health Centre, Soldier's Memorial Hospital, Trellis Mental Health and Developmental Services
Their employer fled town, but the workers are still there.
Canadian Blood Services wasted no time in vacating the premises formerly occupied by the Thunder Bay Plasma Donor Clinic up until April 12.
While CBS maintains closure of the clinic was in the works for some time, they had to break their lease and other contracts to make their quick getaway out-of-town. We have no idea what that cost, but along with the layoff of 28 managers and staff, I’m sure they regard it as “just business.”
Initially selling the public on the idea that they had too much plasma — this in a country that has never been self-sufficient in plasma – it has become clear that the real reason behind the closure is financial.
Put simply, it’s cheaper to buy products with source plasma collected from other countries than it is to collect it here and have it fractionated abroad.