Burnham backs campaign against gay ban on blood donation

Posted On: 
9th August 2015

A review into rules preventing sexually active homosexual men from donating blood should take place, Shadow Health Secretary Andy Burnham has said.

Rules from the 1980s prevent homosexual men donating blood to the NHS if they have had sexual contact with another man in the previous year.

Mr Burnham has thrown his weight behind the Freedom to Donate campaign and argued: “sexuality shouldn’t be the issue”.

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“If you are in a very stable relationship, where’s the issue? That is where I think the system has got a kind of old fashioned take on it,” he told the Huffington Post.

“Obviously you’ve got to do it with expert evidence behind it and of course that has got to be taken into account,” Mr Burnham added.​

The campaign, backed by 12 MPs including Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron and Green MP Caroline Lucas, calls for a review on the matter by the Advisory Committee on the Safety of Blood, Tissues and Organs.

Conservative MP Michael Fabricant, who also supports the campaign, said he was “very disappointed” earlier this year when he was told by the Government no research had been undertaken into incidences of HIV or Hepatitis B between men in same sex marriages and civil partnerships.

Another supporter, Tory MP Stuart Andrew, has said it is “objectionable” he is unable to donate blood as a gay man.

“I can’t think of anything else in my everyday life where I am restricted in doing something because of my sexuality,” he said.

The Freedom to Donate campaign also calls for a review on the ban preventing anyone from donating if they have ever had sex for money or drugs or ever injected drugs.