Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Province continues to lag behind on healthcare

Last week, the government of British Columbia introduced the Voluntary Blood Donations Act to help protect Canada’s national voluntary blood and plasma collection system.
In a press release, it states, “No paid plasma collection clinics are operating in British Columbia. This legislation is meant to prevent such operations from being established, by making it illegal to pay, offer to pay, or advertise that they will pay someone for blood or plasma. This is similar to legislation in Alberta, Ontario and Québec.
“This is an issue that is very important to me and people around B.C.,” said Judy Darcy, Minister of Mental Health and Addictions. “Our government stands with public health care, and that means keeping the blood supply system a public resource.”
While the BC government took this preventative measure, New Brunswick’s governing Liberal party has gone in the exact opposite direction. Our province welcomed a private blood clinic in Moncton citing creation of employment and stating on numerous occasions that Canada doesn’t collect enough plasma from the voluntary system, so the private clinic would help.
While only a handful of jobs were created, it’s the second part of the Liberals reasoning that is completely off base. The plasma collected by the private company will not be used to help New Brunswickers or Canadians. Instead, it will make its way onto the global market.
Despite this being fact, former Health Minister Victor Boudreau and current Health Minister Benoît Bourque have not acknowledged this reality. They can’t say they are unaware because advocacy groups as well as the New Brunswick Union have made this point clear in numerous times.
So why would our government willfully contribute to weakening our national blood and plasma collection system while other provinces, armed with the same knowledge, have chosen to protect it through legislation?
There’s been no clear answer from the Gallant government.
As for how the private clinic is impacting voluntary donations, Peter MacDonald, the director of donor relations for Atlantic Canada at Canadian Blood Services – our national voluntary blood and plasma collection system – said in a recent conversation with the NBU that there’s been some issues.
MacDonald specifically cited donor confusion in Moncton as a problem. The private clinic is called Canadian Plasma Resources which is similar to Canadian Blood Services. MacDonald said many donors have confused the two and believe their donation at the private clinic for which they are paid will help Canadians in the same way it does when they voluntarily donate blood at Canadian Blood Services.
Government can rectify the problem by simply implementing the Voluntary Blood Donations Act, putting this issue to rest and protecting the blood supply.