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Sheehan calls for blood ban to be reduced from 12 to three months

24 July, 2017 - by Pat Sheehan

Sinn Féin spokesperson for Health Pat Sheehan has said it is incumbent on any future Minister for Health in the North to reduce the deferral period on men who have sex with men (MSM) to donate blood in line with the clinical evidence.

 “In June 2016 my colleague Michelle O’Neill – in one of her first acts as Health Minister – took the decision to lift the lifetime ban on men who have sex with men donating blood.

 “Previous DUP Ministers kept the ban in place, however Michelle O’Neill made the decision based on the clinical evidence.

 “The clinical evidence now states that it is safe to reduce the deferral period for MSM donating blood from 12 months to three months. Indeed the Advisory Committee on the Safety of Blood, Tissues and Organs (SaBTO) has recommended the change.

 “I welcome the Department of Health’s comments that it will be guided on this matter by the scientific evidence and that it is taking forward the necessary preparatory work.

 “It is incumbent on any new Health Minister to implement the recommendations of SABTO on MSM donating blood and reduce the deferral period to three months.” 

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