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Healthcare professionals can donate blood again under new criteria

DAVID LYNCH

The Irish Blood Transfusion Service (IBTS) has again changed its policy on accepting blood donations from healthcare workers (HCWs) during the current pandemic, this newspaper has learned.

The Medical Independent (MI) first reported on 27 March that the IBTS had decided not to accept blood donations from frontline HCWs who worked with Covid-19 patients. The deferral came in response to the pandemic.
However, that policy has since changed such that doctors and other HCWs can now donate blood again in certain circumstances.

“The current state of affairs is the IBTS will accept HCWs [as donors] so long as they have had no known contact with a person with confirmed/suspected Covid-19 in the last 14 days and they are well and healthy,” an IBTS spokesperson told MI.

“This is essentially the same as the deferral that is in place for all donors, the reference to HCWs is because they are more likely to know that they have come in contact with a suspected case than the average person.

“IBTS policies that relate to donor eligibility are constantly reviewed and updated.”

There had been “a large amount of changes that relate to the pandemic”, introduced by the IBTS, added the spokesperson.

“We have introduced an appointment only system to limit the number of donors attending the clinic at any one time; this is to allow for social distancing measures to be adhered to in our clinics.

“All of our clinic staff wear personal protective equipment (facemasks and glasses). We have a meeter/greeter stationed at the door of the clinic to screen people for symptoms and contact on arrival.”

In terms of donor eligibility for the general population, “if a donor has come in contact with a confirmed/suspected case they cannot donate for 14 days after their last contact. If a donor had symptoms suggestive of Covid-19 or was confirmed positive, they cannot donate for 28 days from the day they have fully recovered.”

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