Luke Pollard, the Secretary of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Blood Donation, has welcomed the Government’s announcement of a new blood donation policy, allowing more people than ever before to safely donate blood.
The new guidelines, in line with what the APPG for Blood Donation and the FreedomToDonate campaign group had been calling for, see a significant reduction in the deferral period placed on men who have had sex with men, now set at three months. Previously, men who had had sex with men were subject to a 12 month deferral period, something which the campaign group had outlined as unjustifiable and simply flying in the face of today’s medical evidence.
Also announced today is a long term commitment from the Government to work towards a truly individualised risk-based policy and similar reductions in deferral periods for other groups also excluded - both further key asks of the All Party Group that Luke is a member of. The campaign group, which helped launch the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Blood Donation and led on its Parliamentary Inquiry, has been working closely with the Department of Health and NHS Blood and Transplant on what it says is a world-leading blood donation policy.
Luke Pollard MP said:
“Donating blood is one of the most special gifts anyone can offer someone else. The outdated rules for men who have sex with men didn’t match the latest medical advice. It is right that these outdated rules were updated and I’m pleased that the Government has listened to the compelling evidence and the case made by the All Party Group for Blood Donation. I’m proud to be part of this group and I want to pay special tribute to the FreedomToDonate campaign and Paula Sherriff MP and Stewart McDonald MP for their leadership and determined campaigning.”
The founder of FreedomToDonate, Ethan Spibey, welcomed the news and said:
“Today’s announcement from the Government marks a world-leading blood donation policy for gay and bisexual men and the other groups previously restricted. I'm so proud that the work of FreedomToDonate and our supporters will help ensure more people than ever before are allowed to safely donate blood. It’s all down to an incredible team of volunteers and the charities and organisations the campaign represents.
Stewart McDonald MP, who co-chairs the APPG on Blood Donation who led on the Parliamentary Inquiry said:
“I am delighted at this monumental change in blood donation policy, which will ensure more people than ever before can donate blood and increase blood stock whilst always maintaining its safety and integrity. It is fantastic and right that these outdated restrictions have been reviewed and updated, and it is now crucial this policy is enforced as soon as possible, which will ensure as many people as possible are able to achieve this life-saving act.”
You can read more about the announcement here.