Speech - opening NZ Blood Service’s new centre, Christchurch

  • Jonathan Coleman

Thank you for inviting me to open the New Zealand Blood Service’s new Christchurch Blood Centre.

I am pleased that one of my first acts as the new Minister of Health is to open a facility that will be part of Christchurch’s recovery from the devastation caused by the 2010 and 2011 earthquakes.

The redevelopment of Christchurch remains a priority for the Government. 

In particular, the Government is committed to re-establishing high quality health facilities, such as this new Christchurch Blood Centre. 

The New Zealand Blood Service has been a vital part of the health sector since its establishment in 1998. 

It is the sole provider of blood and blood products in New Zealand.

It also provides diagnostic testing and support services to the health sector, operating New Zealand’s only tissue typing service, and providing Skin and Bone Banks.

Forty-two thousand Kiwis need blood or blood products every year.

These are available due to generous donations from other New Zealanders. 

In the 2013/14 financial year, over 112,000 New Zealanders gave blood.

The New Zealand Blood Service ensures that those donations are available when and where they are needed.

It does this by proving a vein-to-vein service. 

This means it recruits the thousands of donors needed - it collects the blood from those donors - it tests the blood for safety - it arranges the manufacture of blood products from the blood collected - and it organises the logistics of getting the blood and the blood products to patients.

The work of the New Zealand Blood Service is very complex. 

Nevertheless, it has always achieved its single enduring outcome.

This is to ensure that the health needs of people in New Zealand are supported by the availability of safe and appropriate blood and tissue products and related services.

The World Health Organization’s goal for national blood services is self-sufficiency in safe blood and blood products, based on voluntary, non-remunerated blood donations.

Thanks to the work of the New Zealand Blood Service, and the free gift of blood from donors, New Zealand has been able to achieve this goal. 

In fact, New Zealand enjoys a leadership position amongst blood services internationally in this regard, as most other blood services need to purchase plasma-derived products from the international market in order to meet demand.

In order to carry out its work, the New Zealand Blood Service needs up-to-date facilities that can accommodate new technologies and are fit-for-purpose. 

This new Centre here in Christchurch, which is one of the four main collection hubs for the New Zealand Blood Service, is such a facility. 

It meets stringent regulatory compliance requirements and it can accommodate more donors to meet the growing demand for plasma.

It is also more comfortable and convenient for donors. 

It is part of ongoing work by the New Zealand Blood Service to ensure its services meet the requirements of New Zealanders. 

Many people and organisations have been involved in getting the new Christchurch Blood Centre up and running.

I would like to acknowledge Ngāi Tahu, who has partnered with the New Zealand Blood Service in developing the Christchurch Blood Centre on its land. 

I also would like to acknowledge all of those who worked on and collectively designed, planned, built and delivered this excellent facility.

Finally, and most importantly, I would like to acknowledge the New Zealand Blood Service staff and the blood donors who will be working and donating in this building.

I take great pleasure in declaring the New Zealand Blood Service Christchurch Blood Centre open.