Evidence must be at the heart of blood donation rules

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Thursday 15th June 2017

HIV Scotland has submitted evidence to the Scottish Parliament’s Public Petitions Committee following a petition lodged by NUS Scotland calling for the introduction of an individual risk-based blood donation policy. The absolute priority for blood donation is to ensure that there is a reliable, safe supply of blood and that all decisions concerning donors are based on the most recent scientific evidence available.

Our evidence has called for three actions to take place:

  • The new recommendations by the Advisory Committee on the Safety of Blood, Tissues and Organs (SaBTO) must be fully implemented upon being announced. There has been speculation that the Committee will advise that the current 12 month deferral period for men-who-have-sex-with-men (MSM), will be reduced to 3 months. We expect the recommendations to be published imminently.
  • A regular review of eligibility criteria to take place to ensure that the rules keep a pace with scientific developments. These periodic reviews would consider whether it is still necessary to treat all MSM as high risk and to permanently exclude former sex workers and people who previously but no longer inject drugs.
  • Examine the possibilities of an individual-risk based system. A collaborative approach by the Scottish National Blood Transfusion Service, academics and the third sector, could determine if such a system would be workable in Scotland.

The Public Petitions Committee is due to discuss the petition again on Thursday 29th June. HIV Scotland will share details of the Committee’s deliberations and the recommendations by SaBTO, via our social media channels.

Read our blood donation evidence [PDF - 394kB]