Wednesday, 3 November 2021
Department of Health
163. To ask the Minister for Health if he plans to change the rules regarding blood transfusions from actively gay and bisexual men in this State to be in line with other jurisdictions from which Ireland imports blood, including Northern Ireland; the reason for this anomaly; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [53564/21]
The remit of the Irish Blood Transfusion Service (IBTS) is to provide a safe, reliable and robust blood service to the Irish health system. A major objective of the IBTS is to ensure that it always has the necessary programmes and procedures in place to protect both the recipients and the donors of blood and blood products. The IBTS constantly keeps all deferral policies under active review, in the light of scientific evidence, emerging infections and international evidence, to ensure the ongoing safety of blood and the products derived from it.
The IBTS established an independent Advisory Committee for Social Behaviours Review to review the evidence base for donor selection, deferral and exclusion in Ireland in relation to social behaviours that may increase the risk of acquiring specific blood-borne infections.
The IBTS has advised my Department that the Advisory Committee has completed its work and submitted its recommendations to the IBTS Medical and Scientific Committee and IBTS Board. My Department has not yet received a copy of the Advisory Committee's Report. However, the work of the Advisory Committee is the subject of consideration between my Department and the IBTS and a meeting will shortly be arranged to discuss the detail of the Report.