Call for people to give blood

A shortage of donated blood is feared this summer so extra donor sessions are being organised in holiday spots

A MAJOR push is under way to encourage more people to give blood because of shortages of supplies.

Blood in stock is down 10% on this time last year and with many French people away on holiday there are concerns that stocks may become too low towards the end of this month – hence an increase in donor sessions including ones in busy holiday spots.

Despite the shortage, however, a ban remains in place on giving blood if you were living in the UK for more than 12 months in total between 1980 and 1996, due to a theoretical risk that you could pass on BSE. This is based on a “precaution principle”, says the Etablissement Français du Sang, which organises blood collection.

For donation sites see the map here: You can move the marker on the scale to change the day.

Blood products do not last long, hence the need for regular donations – just five days for blood platelets, for example, or 42 for white corpuscles.

The Ile-de-France is the area expected to be most affected by shortages.

People whose blood is O- (“universal”) are the most sought after, but anyone – unless in one of the restricted categories – is encouraged to take part.

Donors should be aged 18-70 and weigh more than 50kg.

Restrictions include men who have had sex with men, considered to be at higher than average risk of carrying HIV. The European Court of Justice is currently considering whether this is discriminatory – its avocat général, whose view is followed more often than not, says it is. A judgment is expected before the end of the year.

Other restrictions include: visiting a malarial country (you can give blood four months afterwards), having a tattoo or piercing done (four months), pregnancy (up to six months after the birth), dental work (a day for a filling, a week for removing plaque or having a tooth out), having had a blood transfusion or an organ transplant, having had a viral illness (two weeks) or taking antibiotics (two weeks).

More rules can be found here: FAQ.

Photo: Richard Villalon -