Letter : Conflicting rules for blood donors

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Sir: Every year we have appeals from the National Blood Transfusion Service for donors to give at Christmas, as supplies drop to very low levels. Yesterday, my wife and I attended a donor session for the South Thames Centre.

I normally give blood in London at the West End Donor Centre, run by the North Thames Centre, and had given blood there in September. They do not regard our April holiday in the Dominican Republic as a barrier to my donating. Recently, when I was called forward for the usual questions, I was asked if I had been abroad since I last gave blood. Answer: No. I then proceeded to give blood.

However, when my wife was called she referred to the April holiday, since it is over a year since she gave blood, and was told that she could not donate until a year had elapsed from the date of this holiday.

This morning I have checked with both blood centres. The north centre will and the south centre will not take blood. Indeed the south centre tells me that all centres will be following the rules they use and I too will be precluded from giving blood should we venture again to the more exotic shores for our holidays next year.

As long-haul destinations become more and more popular, it appears that the current small donor base of the NBTS will become even smaller, at least by two donors, precipitating even greater shortages at Christmas.

GRAHAM JARRETT

Bromley, Kent

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