Volunteers Recognised As Blood Donor Centre Moves to Paid Staff

Bermuda Hospitals Board and the Bermuda Red Cross today jointly announced a move to paid nursing and technical staff in the Blood Donor Clinic in the King Edward VII Memorial Hospital, with on-call volunteer support from the Bermuda Red Cross for emergencies. The Bermuda Red Cross will also continue to promote blood donation in the community. The decision was made by both bodies due to accreditation recommendations and a gradual decline in the number of qualified volunteers.

To mark the change, the contribution of Bermuda Red Cross Volunteers to blood donation in Bermuda over the last 44 years will be celebrated in December in the week leading up to International Volunteer Appreciation Day.

“We are extremely grateful to the Bermuda Red Cross and their professional volunteers who have been instrumental in the development of the Blood Donor Centre over decades,” says Dr Betsie Lombard, Director of Blood Transfusion Services. “This change to paid staff for our day-to-day operations is a necessary development of our overall blood donation service and ensures we meet new accreditation requirements and international best practices. We are, however, very grateful that the Bermuda Red Cross will continue to provide volunteers for emergency blood clinics and promote blood donation in the community. The continued support of the Bermuda Red Cross will ensure that our Blood Donor Centre will continue to save lives in Bermuda in all eventualities.”

Barbara Cooper, Chairperson & Volunteer Coordinator of the Bermuda Red Cross Blood Donor Centre and a Member of the Executive Committee of the Bermuda Red Cross, has also been a volunteer nurse at the Blood Donor Centre for 44 years. Mrs Cooper comments: “Our volunteers have provided a compassionate and professional service since the inception of the Blood Donor Centre in 1965, but this is the right time for the Blood Donor Centre to move in line with international standards. We are pleased to continue to provide on-call volunteer support in case of blood emergencies and promote the very real need for more people in Bermuda to donate blood. The work of our volunteers has saved countless lives in Bermuda and we are looking forward to celebrating in December the history of all that has been achieved.”

The Blood Donor Centre was founded in 1965 by the hospital’s pathologist, the late Dr. Ronald E. Shaw. At that time blood donations were handled by six volunteer Red Cross nurses together with staff in the KEMH Emergency Dept. On June 2, 1965 the Blood Donor Centre (then known as the Blood Bank) was opened in its own area of the then new hospital by the Bermuda Red Cross and the Bermuda Hospitals Board. Since that time, the Blood Donor Centre’s operation has been carried out by one full-time paid staff member and two part time staff members and approximately fifty Bermuda Red Cross volunteer Nurses, Technicians, and Refreshment Hostesses.

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