Blood donation canceled in Kent over Brexit

A ferry leaves Dover ferry port in Dover, England.

(CNN)Blood donation sessions in two southern English towns have been canceled during an eight-week period over fears of Brexit-related traffic jams, the National Health Service confirmed.

A handful of sessions around the March 29 deadline for the United Kingdom to leave the European Union were canceled in case of significant disruptions between the English port and Calais in France, the official NHS Give Blood account tweeted.
"We have taken the decision to cancel blood donation sessions in Dover and Folkestone for a 2 week period before and a 6 week period after Britain's exit from the EU," Mike Stredder, director of blood donation for NHS Blood and Transplant, told CNN in a statement.
    "This is because in the event of issues in Calais and other freight ports, this could lead to significant traffic in Kent and may prevent donation teams from reaching or leaving venues in the area," he said. "We will hold replacement sessions at other locations and we will still be in a position to provide the necessary blood to hospitals."

    Extra vehicle checks could mean gridlock

    The port town of Dover acts as a gateway to Europe and is expected to bear the brunt of possible congestion on the Dover-Calais ferry route after the Brexit deadline.
    If Britain leaves the EU without a negotiated deal in place, it will default to World Trade Organization rules, putting an end to frictionless trade. That means goods would have to be checked on the border, leading to inevitable delays.
    Even two extra minutes spent checking each vehicle could translate to jams as long as 29 miles, a study by Imperial College in London found.
    Marc Morris tweeted that his partner's April appointment to give blood had been canceled.
      "My partner just had a call from NHS Blood Donation, cancelling her April appointment, because they're shutting down in Kent port towns between mid-March and May, anticipating that Operation Stack on the M20 will prevent them from moving staff in or blood out."
      The change will only affect six blood donation sessions, Stredder noted. "Over the same period, we will hold around 2,700 other sessions elsewhere in the country," he said. "We will also hold replacement sessions at alternative sessions to compensate."