Cautious welcome to blood ban end

Green Party leader Steven Agnew MLA has today, Thursday, 01 September 2016, given a cautious welcome to the lifting of the blood ban in Northern Ireland, saying it is a “step in the right direction”.

Steven Agnew MLA said,

“Given that all blood is screened for safety, it is right and proper that the Health Minister has looked at the evidence and lifted the ban on men who have sex with men (MSM) from donating blood.

“As a one-year deferral system will now be in place, in line with the rest if the UK, this is a step in the right direction to moving to a blood donation system that allows everyone who is able to donate blood.

“After all, there will be many men in long-term, monogamous, same-sex relationships who will continue to be denied the opportunity to donate blood.

“The SABTO recommendations need to be kept under review so that we can move to a blood donation system that treats everyone as equals while ensuring that the highest patient safety standards are maintained.”

Steven Agnew added,

“The blood ban is only one of many areas in which the LGBTQ community has been discriminated against and I will continue to push for action on health inequality, IVF access, adoption and trans healthcare.”

Notes to editors:
SABTO is the Advisory Committee on the safety of blood, tissues and organs which advises government and health departments on the most appropriate ways to ensure the safety of blood, cells, tissues and organs for transfusion / transplantation.

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