Scotland’s new national blood centre receives Royal opening

Our new state of the art national centre for the Scottish National Blood Transfusion Service (SNBTS) was officially opened on 4 July 2018, by HRH The Earl of Wessex.

Located at Heriot-Watt Research Park, Edinburgh, the Jack Copland Centre (JCC) is named after the founder of the first Scottish blood transfusion service in 1930.

HRH and Jeane Freeman MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Health 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.

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.”

Attending the opening event, Health Secretary Jeane Freeman said: “As we celebrate the 70th anniversary of Scotland’s NHS, this new centre is a great example of how far the health service has come in ensuring safe blood is available to those who need it. It also demonstrates the great advances being made in tissue and cells donation and transplantation.

“On days like this it’s important to recognise that none of this would be possible without our amazing community of donors, who selflessly take the time to give blood regularly to help save the lives of others. I would like to thank them for what they do, and also encourage anyone who can donate blood to do so.”

Howard Copland, grandson of Jack Copland – the founder of the first Scottish blood transfusion commented: “I am delighted to have attended the formal opening of the Jack Copland Centre, by HRH the Earl of Wessex. It was a wonderful day and I thoroughly enjoyed meeting members of SNBTS staff and donors. The building is a great tribute to my grandfather and will ensure his legacy lives on.”

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.”

HRH Earl of Wessex meets blood donors born in 1948, the same year the NHS was established

HRH Earl of Wessex meets blood donors born in 1948, the same year the NHS was established

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