THPUA member lends an arm to NHS plasma team

A prominent member of the Tees shipping community is the first woman in the UK to donate blood plasma as programme restarts after 35 years.

Haemonetic plasma donations resumed in the UK in May 2021 after having been stopped in the mid 80’s due to fears over Variant CJD, otherwise known as mad cow disease.

Tees and Hartlepool Port Users Association (THPUA) member, Alexe Finlay was the first woman to give a donation and the first person to trial a new machine at an NHS facility in Stockton that enables blood to be taken much quicker.

Miss Finlay is a director of THPUA member company, Harbour Management Solutions and also manages South Tees Mission to Seafarers centre and has a number of other volunteering and non-executive roles in the shipping community. She has worked closely with the NHS supporting and championing the plasma initiative as well as establishing other initiatives such as seafarer Covid vaccination programmes.

Miss Finlay said: “New technology has been developed rapidly and is now coming on stream. I was delighted to be asked to be the first to donate using the new system, but I hadn’t expected to be monitored by an international team or to have all the publicity photos that came with it. I don’t mind though as I think its important we raise awareness of plasma donations and the incredible team and local facilities we have right here on our doorstep.

Miss Finlay continued: “Donating plasma doesn’t hurt, it’s all fine. As the Stockton centre has been equipped with an extra fast machine we need to ensure we have a good throughput of donors.”