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6 July 2012
Blood samples will have to travel 120 miles to Bristol because the Colindale testing centre could be dramatically scaled back, Unite, the largest union in the country, has warned.
Unite has threatened to ballot its 40 members at Colindale's NHS Blood and Transplant Testing/ Microbiology Department in north west London for strike action, if plans to move routine testing from Colindale to Filton, near Bristol go-ahead.
The threat of industrial action could coincide with millions of visitors coming to London for the Olympic Games later this month and when NHS staff are being asked to show maximum flexibility to cope with extra demand.
Unite said that the management's 'business case' will mean that blood samples from London and the south east will have to travel more than 120 miles – more than two hours away - for testing.
Unite regional officer, Owen Granfield said:
"About 40 of our members, including highly-qualified biomedical scientists, face losing their jobs at Colindale.
"The service for those, often worried, people waiting for results from their blood tests will take longer as the 120-mile journey to the West Country has to be taken into account.
"Our members will be balloted on possible strike action to save Colindale, if the management go-ahead with their misguided plans. Unite wants to maintain the high standards that the UK's blood transfusion service is known for throughout the world.
“The strike ballot and any possible industrial action could occur during the Olympic Games when millions of foreign and domestic visitors are in London – and some of them will need the services offered by Colindale.
"We see this as a cack-handed attempt by a top-heavy management to make economies at our members' – and the public's – expense."
"What this will mean is that the populous London and south east region will be without a world-class blood testing centre. We want the future of Colindale safeguarded."