TORONTO, July 23, 2014 /CNW/ - The Ontario Nurses' Association (ONA) supports the Ontario government's plans to re-table legislation that would prevent the introduction of for-profit blood plasma clinics, however Registered Nurses (RNs) have ongoing concerns regarding screening of donors in Ontario.
"We have been fighting a battle to protect our blood supply system for well over a year, since the Canadian Blood Services (CBS) launched a program to replace RNs with Donor Care Associates (DCAs). Now the threat of privatizing our blood donor system attacks its integrity and safety. We're pleased to see the Ontario government taking steps to prevent this from happening," said ONA President Linda Haslam-Stroud, RN.
DCAs are unregulated workers that screen potential blood donors at Blood Donor Clinics across Canada. RNs, who have the specialized skills needed to ask additional assessment and screening questions, had been providing this service until the change in models.
RNs' primary concern is that donors may not be screened appropriately and will pose a risk to Ontario's very important blood supply. Nurses' unions across Canada lobbied Health Canada to prevent this change without success. RNs want to ensure the blood supply is safe for the vulnerable patients who receive blood products.
"Apparently, Health Canada has forgotten the disastrous tainted blood scandal of the 1990s. The Commission of Inquiry on the Blood System in Canada (known as the Krever Inquiry) was commissioned by the federal government in October 1993," said Haslam-Stroud. Headed by Mr. Justice Horace Krever, the Commission spent four years investigating the tainted blood tragedy, issuing its final report on November 21, 1997.
"Ontario's nurses will never forget the lessons learned, and we will always speak out when our blood supply is at risk," said Haslam-Stroud.
ONA is the union representing 60,000 front-line registered nurses and allied health professionals as well as more than 14,000 nursing student affiliates providing care in Ontario hospitals, long-term care facilities, public health, the community, industry and clinics.
SOURCE: Ontario Nurses' Association