Alliance Health spokesperson Paula Bradshaw MLA has welcomed news from the Northern Ireland Blood Transfusion Service men in a same-sex relationship will soon be able to donate blood here.
Changes to the donor eligibility rules are being implemented over the summer and will mean anyone who has had the same sexual partner for more than three months will be able to donate regardless of their gender or sexual orientation. This policy was introduced in the rest of the UK on June 14, however, the change was delayed here due to a lack of staff and training resources.
“It is welcome the Blood Transfusion Service has chosen to make this significant announcement on Pride Week,” said the South Belfast MLA.
“It is an important step in ending discrimination against our LGBTQ+ community and will also support important life-saving work in our health service. However, it is regrettable we were not able to make this change in June alongside the rest of the UK, and I look forward to a specific date for full implementation.
“It has taken far too long for Northern Ireland to align its eligibility criteria and, unfortunately, political interference has stood in the face of scientific expertise and decency. It was blatant discrimination and represents another failure of those who continue to champion bigoted and vile political ideologies here.
“We should remember when gay and bisexual men step up to compassionately donate blood we are still letting them down on other important issues such as an appropriate ban on conversion therapy and adequate funding for the LGBTQ+ sector. There is more work left to do to ensure true equality here in Northern Ireland and I will play my part in making this a reality.”