New blood bank to open in Punggol in 2022

A fourth satellite blood collection centre at the new Punggol Town Hub will open in 2022.

The new centre, announced by Senior Minister of State for Health Amy Khor yesterday, aims to offer greater convenience to blood donors living, working and studying in the north-east region.

While the new blood bank in Punggol is being built, bi-monthly mobile drives began at Sengkang General Hospital last month so that residents of Punggol and Sengkang could start donating blood.

The response has been very encouraging, Dr Khor said at a ceremony at Downtown East organised by the Singapore Red Cross (SRC) and the Health Sciences Authority (HSA) to honour the contributions of 1,690 blood donors and community partners.

Last year, 73,280 donors contributed almost 116,000 units of blood, benefiting more than 29,000 patients.

Yesterday, 21 champion blood donors received the Medal for Life award, the highest honour reserved for those who have made more than 200 donations. One in four of them is aged 55 and older.

However, despite new initiatives by SRC to increase the pool of youth donors, the number has remained at about 25 per cent over the past few years. Every day, an estimated 400 units of blood are needed to sustain the national blood stock.

Dr Khor said the current three satellite centres have contributed half of the national blood supply for patients in Singapore.

However, despite new initiatives by SRC to increase the pool of youth donors, the number has remained at about 25 per cent over the past few years. Every day, an estimated 400 units of blood are needed to sustain the national blood stock.

As Singapore continues to grapple with the challenges of an ageing population, the need for blood will continue to grow, said SRC chairman Tee Tua Ba.

One beneficiary is housewife Serene Lee, 39, who received 15 bags of blood products during her heart transplant surgery in 2015.

"Today, I'm able to walk the wards and take care of my fellow patients as part of a patient support group," she said. "This has been made possible with the precious gift of life that the organ and blood donors have given me."

To encourage more people to donate blood, HSA implemented a new donor portal and an appointment booking system last November, so that donors can make appointments and fill in forms ahead of time, and check their donation records. Previously, they had to complete these forms in person at the blood bank.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on June 30, 2019, with the headline 'New blood bank to open in Punggol in 2022'. Print Edition | Subscribe