Campaign welcomes World-Leading Blood Donation Policy as New Guidelines come into Effect in England and Scotland

Friday, December 1, 2017 - 15:15

The campaign group FreedomToDonate has warmly welcomed new guidelines which come into effect, allowing more people than ever before, including gay men, to safely donate blood.

Today, more people than ever will be able to donate blood following the successful campaign from FreedomToDonate and its charitable partners to reduce the deferral period for men who have sex with men. In July the Government announced that it would be reducing the deferral period for gay men and other groups from 12 months to three, which means the UK now has one of the world’s most progressive deferral-based blood donation policies. 

Although recognising that this is not the end goal of a truly individualised blood donation policy,  the campaign group FreedomToDonate welcomed the announcement. FreedomToDonate has long argued that a 12 month deferral period is unjustifiable in light of today’s scientific and medical capabilities.

The campaign’s founder, Ethan Spibey, who has a particularly personal reason to welcome today’s new policy, said “Today marks a fundamental shift in blood donation policy recognising the contribution gay men and other groups make. For me, this was always about being able to repay the donors who saved my grandad’s life.

“As the new guidelines come into effect, this step change really does mean that the UK is leading the way in deferral-based blood donation models and and has a role to play in moving towards a safe and truly fair blood donation policy for all.

“I couldn’t be prouder of the FreedomToDonate team and our supporters, who working together have achieved something which will help more people than ever who are in need of blood.”

However, Ethan does not want the government to stop there. “While we are obviously very happy to have achieved a reduction to a three month deferral period, we look forward to building on the strong relationship we now have with government to move towards an individualised-risk based policy, meaning every person is assessed according to their risk factor and not heaped into sweeping generalisations.”

Stewart McDonald MP, who co-chairs the APPG on Blood Donation which undertook an Inquiry into blood donation policy said, “It’s fantastic that these guidelines have now come into effect which the APPG on Blood Donation recommended throughout the course of its Inquiry. It means more people than ever will be able to take the life-saving act of donating blood.”


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