Question in Parliament: people with ME and blood donation

March 11, 2010

Hansard source

The Health Secretary has been asked to give reasons why people with ME may not donate blood. The request came in a written question from David Drew, Labour MP for Stroud, who has asked a stream of other questions about ME in the past few weeks (type ‘Drew' into the search box to see some of the others).

In a written answer provided on 10 March, Ann Keen (the parliamentary under-secretary of state for health) replied:

“People with myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME), also known as chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), are not able to donate blood until they have fully recovered. “

The reasons for this are: first, blood donors need to be in good health, and people with ME/CFS often experience a range of symptoms which could be made worse by donating blood; and second, as the causes of ME/CFS are not currently fully understood, people with the condition are deferred from donating blood as a precautionary measure to protect the safety of the blood supply for patients.”

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