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Blood Donors

Volume 126: debated on Monday 1 February 1988

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To ask the Secretary of State for Social Services (1) what is his estimate of the proportion and number of adults in England and Wales that would be suitable for blood donation;(2) what proportion and number of suitable adults give blood in England and Wales;(3) what proportion and number of suitable adults are needed to give blood to make England and Wales self-sufficient in blood and blood-derived products;(4) whether he will consider reducing the period between permitted donations of blood to four months from six, to ease the shortage of blood and blood-derived products, and to make England and Wales self-sufficient; and if he will make a statement;

We are already self-sufficient in whole blood. The new £60 million blood products laboratory at Elstree is now on stream and we expect England and Wales to become self-sufficient in blood products next year. Regional health authorities have been set targets to ensure that the necessary amount of plasma is collected for fractionation in the new laboratory.Plasma may either be collected from donors directly by plasmapheresis at intervals of a few weeks, or may be extracted from blood donations generally given twice a year. Guidance on the frequency of donation is kept under review.It is not possible simply to relate the number of plasma donations required to the number of donors. A total of about 2·2 million blood and plasma donations were given in 1986. The theoretical eligible donor population is estimated at 27 million but medical restrictions would reduce this total.