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Coalition Calls for FDA to Investigate the Red Cross Relative to Safety and Recent Workforce Reductions of Nurses

Posted May 19 2010 9:42pm

Back in 2008 the FDA investigated the FDA and fines resulted, and now a coalition is concerned over the reduction of nurses on staff at Red Cross facilities and the safety of drawing and maintaining blood donations.  Drivers and other employees are now drawing blood.  In 2006 the FDA had also fined the Red Cross.  BD image

Wages and benefits are also of concern with recent issues discussed.  BD 

A coalition of advocacy groups on Wednesday called on the Food and Drug Administration to investigate the Red Cross to determine if employee reductions by the organization contributed to its failure to adequately manage the nation's blood supply. 

The AFL-CIO, Workers Committee for Blood Safety, the National Consumers League and other organizations said anonymous employee whistle-blowers at the Red Cross complained to union representatives that the Red Cross is reducing the number registered nurses who oversee blood donations and replacing them with staffers who were hired for other tasks and subsequently trained to draw blood.

Union officials said employees in Connecticut complained that workforce reductions created a staffing ratio of one employee for every 25 donors. In Buffalo, nurses are no longer required in rooms where blood is donated, and drivers of Red Cross mobile units are being asked to draw blood. In New Jersey, the Red Cross has reduced a force of 75 nurses to 18 over 10 years.

But Feigen and the whistle-blowers have not drawn a direct connection between the reduction of workers to problems collecting blood. The coalition provided only anecdotal evidence to support its allegations.

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