Local News

UPS Strike Affects Medical Agencies

Posted August 4, 1997 12:00 a.m. EDT

— Most medical agencies at one time or another rely on courier services like UPS for much needed medical supplies. The UPS has not affected Cape Fear Valley Medical Center, but that's because it has its own center where people can donate blood. And 80 to 90 percent of the supplies here are bought locally.

At doctors offices and hospitals it can be a matter of life or death. Supplies must be on hand and ready to handle any emergency. No place is that more true that at a blood bank.

"It's really critical we get it the same day if it shows up a day late that starts to cause problems for us," said Clinton Weaver, Cape Fear Valley Medical Center.

The UPS strike hasn't caused any delays in blood deliveries yet, but has slowed down shipments of vaccinations to Cumberland County's Health Department.

"Here we tend to anticipate our needs with this being a busy time of year we tend to get a lot of our vaccines in advance so we have a bit of a supply," said Julia Kenny, R.N., immunizations clinic.

But with no one sure of just how long the strike will last and many agencies are using other carriers to bring in blood and other supplies.

"We have so many other carriers we use that we've been able to pick up the slack by using Fed Ex, RPS and other carriers," said Weaver.

"I imagine if it continues the state would make other arrangements for having delivery for us they certainly won't see us without it," said Kenny.

For now the strike may cause some delays moving medical supply but won't cause health care providers to go without.

Many hospitals and medical agencies have been told by UPS and other couriers that their packages will get priority over any others.