Will Northern Ireland lift blood ban by 3215?

The reason I ask of course is because today the permanent lifetime ban on giving blood is being replaced a 12 month deferral in England, Scotland and Wales, but not here. In his initial comments on 23 September the minister Edwin Poots said there was a increase in risk by allowing men who had sex with men from giving blood, and there was no reason to follow the other three health minsters in lifting the ban.

He has subsequently said he has yet to make up his mind.

But why 3215?

Well on 26 October the Minister faced the health committee who asked him some questions about this issue. Here is what the chair Michelle Gildenew pointed out at one point.

The Chairperson:

The briefing paper that we got from the Department was very helpful on compliance levels and on the current risk of HIV-infected donations being released into the blood supply. I refer you to the fact that the information provided in the paper states that, if the 12-month referral were introduced, the risk would be 0·228 per million donations. The current risk is 0·227 per million donations, so that would be a rise of 0·001 per million donations. How many donations do we get here in the North in a year? I would imagine that one million would be quite high, but the number would need to be over 100 million donations before the figures would kick in. That is an awful lot of blood for such a small place.

Mr Poots:

I do not know precisely what the figure is for Northern Ireland, but I know that, across the UK, it is around 2·5 million.

The Chairperson:

So, you would presume that we certainly do not get anywhere near one million donations.

Mr Poots:

Given that we have 1·8% of the population, a divisor of just over 30 would be close to the figure.

The Chairperson:

It would still not be near one million.

Indeed not using the Minister’s own figures that is 83,333. But 1.8% is actually close to a divisor of 50. For the benefit of this scenario however I will be taking his 30 divisor and merely using 83,000.

100,000,000 divided by 83,000 equals 1204

Therefore assuming neutral population growth and a maintenance of blood provision would see an extra single case by 3215.

Using the actual divisor of 50 is 50,000 (the actual figure from 1.8% is 45,000)

100,000,000 divided by 50,000 equals 2000 (divided by 45,000 equals 2222)

Therefore the actual figure is one by 4011 (4233).

Maybe some in the future may have to prompt a future health minister about not lifting the blood ban nearer any of these dates.


1 Comment

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One response to “Will Northern Ireland lift blood ban by 3215?

  1. Pingback: Seven months on and still no word on blood ban | LGBT Lib Dems Northern Ireland

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