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November 15, 2016

Canada’s nurses say ‘No’ to paid plasma in our public health care system

Press Release

Tuesday, November 15, 2016 (Ottawa) – Today, Canadian Federation of Nurses Unions (CFNU) Secretary-Treasurer, Pauline Worsfold will join public health advocates and politicians for BloodWatch.org’s Safe Blood Advocates Press Conference on Parliament Hill at 11:30am.

Canada’s nurses are speaking out against paid plasma, and echo BloodWatch.org’s call for Minister Jane Philpott to put a moratorium on all licenses to Canadian Plasma Resources and any other private blood broker that has applied; to allow for a transparent consultation on the impact of private blood brokers to our public voluntary blood system; and to protect the Canadian public blood system by implementing a ban on the practice of selling blood plasma to ensure blood and plasma remains a public resource.

“Canada’s nurses strongly oppose the commercialization of the Canadian blood supply system and paid blood donations,” said CFNU Secretary-Treasurer Pauline Worsfold. “Our concern first and foremost is always the safety of our patients, and we are deeply concerned that paid for blood could threaten the safety of our Canadian blood supply system.”

In February, Canada’s nurses wrote to Minister Philpott, expressing concern after a private company, Canadian Plasma Resources, established operations in Saskatchewan offering donors a $25 gift card each time they donate plasma.

“After Canada’s blood tragedy of the 1980s where 30,000 Canadians received tainted blood transfusions, safeguarding the integrity of Canada’s blood system must be a priority for all levels of government,” said Worsfold. “The commission recommendations presented to Parliament explicitly called for a ban on paid blood and plasma donations. The Provinces of Ontario and Quebec have stood by these recommendations and banned paid blood donations; we strongly support this policy.”

As a result of this tragedy, the federal government appointed Justice Krever to lead the Commission of Inquiry on the Blood System in Canada. In his report, Justice Krever recommended the establishment of the Canadian Blood Services (CBS) as a national, not-for-profit organization responsible and accountable for the blood supply. It was to be governed by five basic principles:

  1. Blood is a public resource.
  2. Donors of blood and plasma should not be paid for their donations, except in rare circumstances.
  3. Whole blood, plasma and platelets must be collected in sufficient quantities to meet domestic needs for blood components and blood products.
  4. Canadians should have free and universal access to blood components and blood products.
  5. Safety of the blood supply system is paramount.

The CFNU urges all levels of government to direct the Canadian Blood Services (CBS) to expand non-paid collection of blood with the goal of having Canada self-sufficient in blood products through a publicly-regulated, not-for-profit voluntary blood and plasma system.

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The Canadian Federation of Nurses Unions (CFNU) is Canada’s largest nurses’ organization representing nearly 200,000 nurses and student nurses. The CFNU has been advocating for national discussions on key health priorities, such as a national prescription drug plan, a comprehensive approach to long-term and continuing care, greater attention to health human resources, and federal government engagement on the future of public health care.

 

For further information please contact:

Emily Doer
Communications Officer
613-807-1340

 

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