Vaughan Gething MS, Minister for Health and Social Services
I am pleased to inform members that today along with my counterpart Health ministers across all four UK nations we have agreed to lift what is commonly known as the gay blood ban that has until now prevented men who have had sex with men (MSM) to donate blood.
I have instructed the Welsh Blood Service (WBS) to prepare and make changes to some of the questions blood donors are asked in order to move to a more individualised assessment of whether donors may be at risk of a blood-borne virus infection, regardless of their sex, gender or sexual orientation. The changes will ensure a fairer and more up to date assessment of risk is applied to all donors so that MSM will no longer be automatically prevented from donating blood.
Since the current donation policy was implemented in 2017, the Welsh Government has long advocated for further change towards a non-discriminatory donation policy. These changes will adopt the recommendations of the UK-wide For Assessment of Individualised Risk (FAIR) steering group. The Advisory Committee on the Safety of Blood, Tissues and Organs (SaBTO) reviewed the proposals outlined by the group and confirmed they would not impact on the safe supply of blood and blood components for recipients in the UK. WBS will work with the other UK blood services to make preparations and raise awareness with donors and potential donors about the changes. It expects to implement these changes in summer 2021.