The Scottish National Blood Transfusion Service will temporarily defer donors who have visited the US or Canada for 28 days in order to minimise the risk of West Nile virus entering blood supplies. The SNBTS is actively campaigning to encourage donors to give blood before they go on holiday. Last week, as a result of those efforts, more than 1,700 new or returning donors gave blood.
I thank the minister for that reply and I am encouraged by it. I hope that he agrees with me about the importance of blood donation to this country. In light of the outbreak of West Nile virus that is affecting the United States, will the minister consider increasing public awareness of blood donation throughout Scotland?
I agree that this is an important matter. I thank him for raising the issue, given some of the history that is attached to blood donation. The SNBTS is very much aware of the need to raise awareness and is involved in a publicity campaign. I am sure that it will continue to monitor the situation and pursue that campaign actively.