Government announces review on 12-month gay blood ban rule
Government ministers have announced they will review the current ban on blood donation from men who've had sex with men within the preceding 12 months.
Public Health Minister Jane Ellison MP has just announced that the advisory body will review the rules on who can safely donate in 2016, following pressure from campaigners and politicans including Conservative MP for Lichfield, Michael Fabricant.
The lifelong ban on men who'd ever had sex with another man was lifted back in 2011, when the current 12-month deferral limit was put in place. Campaigners - including the recently launched FreedomToDonate group - have argued that the year-long period is too long and should be re-examined by the government.
Answering a parliamentary question from Michael Fabricant today about the group's campaign, Ms Ellison responded: "Making sure that the blood supply is safe is an absolute priority. Donor deferral for men who have sex with men was changed from lifetime to 12 months in 2011, but four years later it is time to look again at the question.
"Public Health England has just undertaken an anonymous survey of donors, and I am pleased to say that SaBTO-the Advisory Committee on the Safety of Blood, Tissues and Organs-will review the issue in 2016."
FreedomToDonate founder, Ethan Spibey, responded to the announcement saying: "Today 's news is incredible. The FreedomToDonate team have worked tireless with our brilliant supporters to raise the case for a review into who can safely donate blood.
"I'm extremely happy that this morning the Public Health Minister Jane Ellison MP in answer to a question on the FreedomToDonate campaign confirmed that this review will take place in 2016.
"Those that can safely donate blood should be able to donate and securing this review is a step towards that. It's time for the FreedomToDonate."
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