Speech - Opening of The Blood Service's New NSW And ACT Principal Site
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8 June 2011
I recognise the traditional owners on the land upon which we gather, the people of the Gadigal clan, and pay my respects to their elders past and present.
Thank you for inviting me here today.
To begin, I would like to acknowledge the most generous contribution to the health sector of the more than half a million blood donors who contribute in excess of 1.4 million blood donations annually to those in need.
Many life and death situations rely on blood and blood related products and without these donations there would be increased patient mortality and reduced clinical outcomes for many patients.
Without the generosity of our blood donors, Australia would not enjoy the level of health care it does today.
The provision of fresh blood products is an essential service for all Australians, and all governments are committed to ensuring a secure supply of fresh blood components to meet the clinical needs of Australian patients.
On behalf of the Australian Government I would like to acknowledge the valuable contribution of the Australian Red Cross Blood Service in the collection, processing and distribution of blood and blood products for all Australians.
Sydney Processing Centre
But we are here today to mark the completion of this principal blood-manufacturing site for NSW and ACT and I would like to congratulate the Blood Service for seeing this project through so successfully.
The move here to this purpose-built facility in Alexandria from the old site in Clarence Street opens a new chapter in Blood Service operations.
As well as centralising all testing, processing, distribution, research and administration functions for the Blood Service in NSW and the ACT, this facility also contains state of the art laboratory facilities, inventory systems and other specialised equipment designed to ensure the safety and quality of all fresh blood products.
I know that the Blood Service has put a great deal of thought into designing this new facility – I understand that its modular, expandable features mean it will be able to meet Blood Service requirements for the next 30 years.
The Blood Service has five principal blood manufacturing facilities which receive blood from collection sites throughout Australia – located in Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne, Adelaide and Perth.
This new facility here in Sydney will be the largest principal blood site in Australia and will manufacture around one-third of Australia’s national fresh blood supply.
This is a good example of collaboration between the Commonwealth and state and territory governments and the private sector to fund and develop essential health infrastructure.
Together, Australian governments have committed up to $191 million at today’s prices for the site over 20 years to meet building, lease and fit out costs for this facility.
Looking around here today, it seems to me that this is money well spent.
The Blood Service
Australian governments fully fund the Blood Service through the national arrangements for the provision of blood products and services to Australian patients.
As with other areas in the health sector, expenditure on blood and blood products is increasing annually. In the current financial year, the Blood Service is expected to receive about $500 million for the provision of products and services.
This is another reason why the opening of this state-of-the-art Sydney Processing Centre today is so important.
It is part of a program of capital initiatives being implemented by the Blood Service to ensure both security and safety of the blood supply, while in turn generating and realising manufacturing and operational efficiencies that will provide value for money for all governments and the broader community.
These initiatives also include the development of the Melbourne Processing Centre, of which 63% funding comes from the Australian Government’s Health and Hospitals Fund initiative and 37% from the states and territories.
The Melbourne Processing Centre is currently under construction, and due to be operating early in 2012. The implementation of these two new centres will generate operating efficiencies for the Blood Service.
The Blood Service works hard to ensure provision of a safe and secure blood supply and I would like to recognise just a few of their recent significant achievements, including:
- the introduction of 100 per cent red cell leucodepletion in 2008-09
- the introduction of bacterial contamination screening of 100 per cent platelets in 2009 10
- the implementation of nucleic acid testing for Hepatitis B in 2010-11
- the work toward the implementation of a Blood Sample Archive in 2011-12.
These initiatives are designed to generate improvement in the safety and quality of the clinical administration of blood leading to better patient outcomes and to ensure the most appropriate use of donor blood in the clinical setting.
Role of the National Blood Authority
At this point I would also like to acknowledge the work of the National Blood Authority (NBA), which was established to improve and enhance the management of the Australian blood and plasma product sector at a national level.
This Australian Government statutory agency represents the interests of the Australian, state and territory governments, and sits within the Australian Government’s Health and Ageing portfolio.
Its brief is to provide an adequate, safe, secure and affordable supply of blood products, blood related products and blood related services in Australia.
It is also responsible for promoting safe, high quality management and use of blood products and services throughout the nation.
It manages the relationship and contract with the Blood Service—as the sole supplier of fresh blood components in Australia—and is responsible for negotiating and managing the Deed of Agreement with the Australian Red Cross Society.
The authority is jointly funded by all governments with the Commonwealth contributing 63 per cent and the states 37 per cent.
The Australian Government considers building health infrastructure an essential corner stone in providing the Australian people with a health care system that will meet the needs of future generations.
World class health infrastructure, such as this facility, will allow our health care system to provide the world class health services that our communities deserve.
In conclusion, I would like to encourage the Blood Service to continue to develop donor management programs that are truly responsive to the clinical demand for blood, ensuring the maximum use of the donor’s generous gift to the health sector.
The Australian Government looks forward to continuing to work collaboratively with the Blood Service to provide a world class blood service to all Australians, and to achieve the best value for money from the significant public investment in the Blood Service each year.
I now officially declare the centre open.
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