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First Minister marks landmark change in blood donation rules

Written by on 14th June 2021

The First Minister has given blood on World Blood Donor Day (14 June) to mark the change in eligibility rules allowing more people to donate.

As part of a four-nation agreement, the Welsh Government announced in December the ending of blanket restrictions which prevented many LGBT+ people from giving blood.

The First Minister gave his 50th blood donation today alongside blood donors eligible for the first time.

First Minister Mark Drakeford said:

“Today is an important day in bringing to an end the discrimination LGBT+ people have faced in donating blood.

“I’m delighted to play my part and give blood today, on World Blood Donor Day, alongside those who have campaigned hard for this change and helped to make it happen.

“Blood donation can save and change lives and I would encourage anyone who is able and willing to donate.”

As part of the changes in eligibility, Welsh Blood Service, along with other UK blood services, will ask all blood and platelet donors the same set of standard questions about their sexual behaviours.

This will allow a personal risk assessment to be carried out for each donor rather than a blanket risk assigned to a particular group of people.

Health Minister Eluned Morgan said:

“I welcome the changes to blood donation rules and I’m grateful to the medical experts who have made sure that our blood supply is safe while making blood donation fairer for all.

“The Welsh Blood Service rely on the kindness of blood and platelet donors to maintain supplies. Three hundred and fifty donations are needed a day for use across Welsh hospitals.”

Welsh Blood Service director Alan Prosser said:

“We are thrilled to mark World Blood Donor Day by welcoming more people into our lifesaving team of blood and platelet donors.

“From today, more people can safely donate thanks to a new and fairer eligibility criteria.

“Whilst blood services are not responsible for setting the rules around donation, we are delighted that our work in collaboration with the FAIR steering group has led to the new regulations.

“I would also like to take this opportunity to congratulate the First Minister on reaching his 50th donation milestone. I hope more people can follow in his footsteps and make a potentially lifesaving difference to patients in need.

“If you have never given blood before, please consider supporting us by donating at your local donation clinic.”