Dear Mr Magic
Thank you for your email of 6th August to Dame Sally Davies, bringing to her attention the e-petition asking for the abolition of the exclusion of men who have had sex with men as blood donors. Dame Sally has asked me to reply on her behalf.
I would like to agree with your point that the selection criteria for blood donors should be based on scientific fact and medical knowledge. This is certainly the Government’s policy. And as scientific and medical knowledge grows over time, the criteria need to be reviewed.
You may be aware that the Advisory Committee on the Safety of Blood, Tissues and Organs has completed a review of the evidence base for donor exclusion and deferral in the
which was started in 2009. This includes a review of the criteria which relate to sexual behaviour. The findings of the review are being considered by the relevant Health Ministers across the UK , and further information on any resulting changes to current blood donation policies will be made available in due course – in light of all the evidence. We continually review the evidence base for policies already in place, and will continue to do so. UK
I would like to reassure you on one point. You mention that there is currently a blood shortage, and that patients are going without operations and other treatments as a result. I am pleased to say that this is not the case: the National Blood Service in
is very carefully managed to maintain supplies without wasting donations. When stocks are running low in certain areas, NHSBT may advertise to attract more donors locally, but I am pleased to tell you that they have been able to maintain blood supplies to hospitals to meet their needs since the alert system was set up ten years ago. England
Head of Policy, Blood Safety and Supply
And thus we come to an interesting conflict of facts, please observe:
This is only one of several such articles which can be found relating to people having to wait for transfusions and transplants because of the aquisition of blood.
Also observe the date of this article... 2010, which to my calculations is not ten years ago, though I could be wrong as maths is not my strongest of subjects.
Secondly, she has brought to my attention a piece of knowledge that I had not previously known, that the review of the policy for excluding sexually active gay men (which has been around since 1977) was started in 2009. This is interesting as, to my knowledge, Dr Rewena Jecock was appointed head of policy for blood safety and supply on the 22nd of January 2009. This means that, unless it was started during the first 22 days in January, she was person that was incharge when this policy started to be questioned.
So, for anyone who would like to contact Dr Jecock and ask her personally why gay man are banned from giving blood or to congratulate her for challenging the ban in the first place, the E-mail address for her Secretary is Tina.Lee@dh.gsi.gov.uk