Blood: Donors

Department of Health and Social Care written question – answered on 14th June 2018.

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Photo of Helen Hayes Helen Hayes Labour, Dulwich and West Norwood

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to increase the supply of blood in the groups most prevalent in people from BAME backgrounds.

Photo of Jackie Doyle-Price Jackie Doyle-Price The Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Health and Social Care

NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT), which is accountable to the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, is responsible for the provision of a reliable, efficient supply of blood to hospitals in England and associated services to the wider National Health Service.

Whilst NHSBT can meet hospitals’ demand for blood for people from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) backgrounds by supplying the universal blood group O negative, it is far better for patients to receive blood from the same ethnic background and blood closely matched to their own, particularly for those patients with sickle cell disease who require regular transfusions.

NHSBT therefore aims to recruit a significant number of new blood donors from a black African or black Caribbean background each year and has undertaken a number of initiatives to support this goal, such as a campaign with black Christian churches across England, Know Your Type events in high population BAME areas, where individuals can learn their blood type with a finger prick test, and promoting the B Positive choir.

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