Since my September 2015 appointment as Chairman of the Sanquin Blood Supply Foundation’s Executive Board, I have become extremely familiar with the organisation and its employees. Getting to know all these enthusiastic, helpful and dedicated colleagues has made a lasting impression on me. Sanquin performs interesting and far-reaching work. The social responsibility of helping patients using the gifts provided by donors is both inspiring and unique.
The donor community is vitally important to us, and we are grateful for the dedication and commitment with which countless donors contribute to a safe blood supply for the Netherlands. We will make sure that the services we provide for donors are modernised. For example, we were unable to deliver Wi-Fi access at every collection location in 2015. This must be resolved in 2016, as the lack of Wi-Fi is unacceptable in this day and age and, furthermore, we had in fact promised to provide it much earlier. We also want to improve our service to donors, among other things by allowing them to schedule their own donations through a donor portal.
Sanquin’s public tasks are essential, with the Blood Bank and research activities at the organisation’s heart. The Blood Bank covers all the activities in the chain from collection to the release of short shelf-life blood components. This includes not only the Blood Bank and research activities, but also the commercial diagnostic testing and manufacture of plasma medication and reagents. This mix of public tasks and private activities demands a transparent organisation, with responsibility and accountability being crystal-clear. The first steps were taken in 2015, with the process to be completed in 2016. The result will be that the Sanquin Blood Supply Foundation includes both the Blood Bank and Research divisions, while also owning a holding company which performs private commercial activities. This is a transparent, proven structure that protects public duties from any risks taken in the private sector.
Sanquin Plasma Products BV (SPP) will continue to require attention in the years to come. The core focus is on the quality systems, designed in 2015, which must be expeditiously implemented in 2016. To this end, the organisation must migrate from being a research-driven structure to a professional manufacturing environment. The scale of manufacturing and associated business interests leave no other option.
The scientific research performed at Sanquin is renowned internationally, encompassing everything related to blood. Collaboration with academic research programmes has grown in recent years, a development we will certainly continue to promote. Our research topics blend seamlessly with activities in other Sanquin divisions. Research, for instance, contributes significantly to the social issues of health and disease.
Sanquin is a unique institute in the world. All the activities, from blood collection to delivering blood components and plasma medicines safely to patients, and every step along the way, occur under one roof. This all-in-one principle is a condition for Sanquin’s success. It is our duty to ensure this system can survive in the years to come.
Dirk Jan van den Berg
Chairman of the Executive Board