12:55 | 24th April 2019

News: UK

Mon 15 Aug, 2011
By Sam Bristowe

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National Lib Dem Conference Motion to demand end to gay blood ban

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Liberal Democrat members will debate and vote on a motion calling for the government to end the ban on men who have had sex with men (MSM) and their partners from donating blood at their annual Party Conference next month. The motion will be moved in a televised Conference debate by campaign co-founders Dij Davies and Chris Ward. It has been supported by numerous MPs, LGBT Lib Dems and Liberal Youth.

Chris Ward said, “We are delighted to have finally got this on the agenda.

It means that Ministers and those who would rather not talk about the subject will be forced to answer vital questions on the safety of current criteria as well as the speculative methodology used to determine ‘high risk’ groups.”

Unlike the other two main parties, motions at Lib Dem Conference automatically become formal party policy. Lib Dem Ministers will be unable to ignore it if passed.

He added, “The current criteria bans a gay man from donating blood right from his first sexual experience, even if a condom was used. Yet heterosexuals who have unprotected sex with prostitutes can give blood the day after. The criteria as it stands does not protect the blood bank adequately and a move towards an assessment of individual risk rather than societal grouping will ensure much better protection for blood transfusion patients as well as adding a potential two-million new donors. At a time where the National Blood Service is screaming out for new donors, this is vital.”

Dij Davies has a more tragic story to tell about the blood ban. When his mother was diagnosed with Leukemia in 2005, Dij wanted to donate, but was denied this despite his mother’s consent.

Dij said, “Having personally witnessed the devastating effect the ban can have on patients and their families, I welcome the Liberal Democrats’ commitment to an open and fair debate on this point.”

Campaign co-founder Matthew Folker said, “The key to this debate is the raising of standards that donated blood must meet, by dealing with donors on an individual basis. As such we will remove unfounded stigma, afford groups who could not donate before the opportunity whilst reducing risk across the entire system. This will help save more lives in a country where the need for blood transfusions is constantly increasing.”

Both Nick Clegg and David Cameron made commitments in separate interviews prior to the election that the blood ban should end.

Source: Lib Dem PR


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