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.”