Héma-Québec / Blood reserve and number of donors on the rise - HÉMA-QUÉBEC successfully fulfills its mission during first three months of operation

MONTREAL, QUEBEC, January 12, 1999 - Quebeckers throughout the province have responded in greater numbers than ever to HÉMA-QUÉBEC's appeal to donate blood for hospital patients. HÉMA-QUÉBEC has been fulfilling its mission to collect, process and distribute safe blood products since its first day of operation. Our staff have been working extremely hard to build public confidence and to make the transition to HÉMA-QUÉBEC as smooth as possible for donors and hospitals," said Dr. Francine Decary this morning at a press conference on HÉMA-QUÉBEC's first three months of operation.

During the period beginning September 28, 1998, when HÉMA-QUÉBEC began operations, to January 1, 1999, just before the critical holiday season, average blood reserve levels remained optimal and even reached 139 percent. HÉMA-QUÉBEC collected an average of 1,058 blood donations daily, allowing the blood reserve to be maintained at optimum levels.

"We are very proud of the public's response and encourage people to continue giving blood. Anyone in good health can give blood every 56 days," explained Dr. Decary. "Quebeckers understand that they are responsible for the province's blood reserve." HÉMA-QUÉBEC has also reduced the time required to give blood to about one hour.

Dr. Decary also pointed out that a blood reserve at 100 percent is equal to four or five days' supply. Blood component inventories can fall quickly if several hospitals have urgent needs at the same time.

When HÉMA-QUÉBEC began its operations, it launched an advertising campaign to underline the importance of giving blood for patients in need. The campaign features four children whose medical conditions require frequent transfusions. HÉMA-QUÉBEC has also developed a telerecruiting campaign to reach donors.

HÉMA-QUÉBEC is exploring new ways to encourage members of the public to give blood, particularly during the critical holiday season. This is why a blood clinic was opened just before Christmas at Place Laurier in Quebec City. HÉMA-QUÉBEC also organized a blood donation week in Montreal area hospitals in December.

"We would like to thank the public on behalf of patients, and point out that everything is going very well with HÉMA-QUÉBEC as the province's blood supplier," said Dr. Gwendolyne Spurll and Dr. Claude Joffre Allard, the presidents of the Montreal and Quebec City medical transfusion advisory committees and directors of the transfusion departments of the Royal Victoria Hospital and the Centre hospitalier de Rimouski respectively.

HÉMA-QUÉBEC ensures highly effective inventory rotation by managing the blood supply for all of Quebec. Moreover, there is ongoing communication between the directors of hospital transfusion departments and HÉMA-QUÉBEC.

If necessary, blood components may be exchanged by HÉMA-QUÉBEC and the transfusion centres operated by the Canadian Blood Services anywhere in the country. HÉMA-QUÉBEC has delivered more blood components to other provinces than it has received, which confirms a historical trend.

HÉMA-QUÉBEC entered into agreements on the exchange of blood components with the Canadian Blood Services when the two organizations took over from the Red Cross on September 28. HÉMA-QUÉBEC and the Canadian Blood Services regularly exchange information on a variety of operating aspects.

As part of its mission, HÉMA-QUÉBEC provides Quebeckers with adequate quantities of superior quality and safe blood products to meet the needs of hospitals in all regions of the province and to provide recognized expertise and specialized services in immuno-hematology.