Scotland’s new national blood centre receives Royal opening for NHS 70th birthday

A new state of the art national centre for the Scottish National Blood Transfusion Service (SNBTS) has been officially opened by HRH The Earl of Wessex.

HRH the Earl of Wessex Prince Edward and Shona Robison MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Health, Wellbeing and Sport, toured the cutting edge facility which was purpose built for the processing, testing and manufacturing of blood, donor tissues and cells. They met several of the 300 members of staff including laboratory researchers, expert clinical staff and the donor services call centre.  NHS

During the opening event HRH met Howard Copland, the grandson of Jack Copland, and heard how his father John as a teenager used to answer calls for blood that came in late at night, and then drive to collect a donor and take them to hospital. He was also introduced to three year-old Skye Edwards from Inverness, who has had had nine life-saving red blood and platelet transfusions, with two being given on the day she was born. Now, thanks to blood and platelet donors, Skye’s bone marrow is working as it should be.

HRH also enjoyed meeting a group of eight regular blood donors who have all donated 70 times; and with all of them born in 1948, the year the NHS was established, they will also be celebrating their 70th birthdays this year.

Mary Morgan, Director of the Scottish National Blood Transfusion Service said: “The Royal opening of our new building by HRH the Earl of Wessex, marks an historic milestone for the Scottish National Blood Transfusion Service (SNBTS) and indeed the NHS in Scotland. Not only is this the new home for the service headquarters, the Jack Copland Centre (JCC) delivers a modern blood, tissues and cells supply service for patients and gives us the ability to be at the forefront of developments in technology and advanced therapies in years to come.

“The centre has been several years in development and I would like to thank our staff for ensuring services were maintained and continued to improve throughout this project, and for the considerable work in its successful delivery. We have created a vibrant and modern environment for our valued staff to work in and we are proud to play a role in improving Scotland’s health.”

The Rt Hon Lord Lieutenant and Lord Provost of the city of Edinburgh, Frank Ross, is the Honorary President of the South-East Blood Transfusion Association. He said: “The 70th anniversary of the NHS is an incredible milestone for the whole country. It gives all of us a chance to recognise the hard work, sacrifices and discoveries made by medical staff and the thousands of lives they save and make better every day.

“But they couldn’t do it on their own. The NHS needs people like you and me to play our part and give blood. We can help to save patients too and just one pint of blood can save three lives.

“The importance of Scotland’s new national blood centre cannot be underestimated and this new building will ensure we remain at the forefront of innovative transfusion services. It gives me great pleasure to welcome HRH to Edinburgh for this incredible anniversary event.” 

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