Blood donation rule change to increase Olympic supplies
According to a story in British newspaper the Daily Mail, the UK government is attempting to increase blood stocks during the London 2012 Olympics by relaxing rules on donations.
The newspaper reports that instead of being restricted to donating blood three times a year, men will now be able to give blood four times a year instead.
It is anticipated that the rule change will add an additional 100,000 units of blood to the country’s standard reserves this summer.
During the summer months blood stocks traditionally reduce in the UK, because fewer people are unable attend local donation sessions as they are on holiday.
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Men who give blood frequently were made aware of the relaxation in rules by an email that was sent out by the NHS last week.
The Mail says the NHS is now trying to encourage males in Britain to give blood more often to help prepare for what the organisation described as a “busy summer” period.
“With the London 2012 Olympics just a few months away, the pressure on blood stocks has never been higher,” read the email, which was sent by Alan McDermott, the NHS Blood and Transplant’s director of donations.
“We’ve introduced new guidelines so that male donors can now give blood up to four times every 12 months, as long as they wait for at least 12 weeks between donations.
“The change follows a review of practice from other countries where this has been shown to be safe,” McDermott adds.
However, despite the changes, women will still only be allowed to give blood three times a year.
The amendments to the guidelines will bring UK donation laws more in line with those in European countries, where men can donate more times a year than women because they have higher iron levels.
This is just one thing the UK government is doing to try and prepare its health services for the extra five million tourists that are expected to descend on London during the summer for the Olympic Games.
The Health Protection Agency (HPA) in the UK is in the process of setting up one of the biggest health surveillance systems in the world.
Health officials will try and make tourists aware of the available NHS advice lines – NHS Direct and 111 – before they arrive in London in the summer.
Calls to the advice lines will also be monitored during the Games, as will hospital admissions, and healthcare professionals will be alerted about of any signs of illness or unusual infectious diseases.
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