This is the text of a leaflet distributed by IWW NBS workers and West Midlands Branch members at Birmingham Gay Pride. The campaign to prevent cuts and increase worker power within the NBS continues apace. More updates coming soon!
It’s generally believed that we live in a selfish, even cruel, world. But humans constantly challenge this view with amazingly generous, social and altruistic behaviour. Giving blood is pure human solidarity. A patient receiving a transfusion can look up at the pack of red cells feeding into their body and know that someone wanted them to live, without knowing who they are. Blood is a vital fluid that is common to us all.
Less than 5% of the eligible population give blood, and a lot of money is spent on adverts to recruit donors. At present, men who have sex with men are excluded from donating blood. The current opinion of NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT) is that blood from a sexually active gay man may be more likely to carry infections than blood from a straight person. They claim that screening for disease would be too expensive, although they already screen all blood from heterosexuals, where STDs are on the rise.
Logically if gay men could donate, the donor pool would be instantly increased and less would need to be spent on advertising.
Pressure from the BloodBan campaign and from health workers through their unions has caused NHSBT decision makers to agree to incorporate a review of screening policy as one of the priorities under an equality impact assessment to be rolled out across NHSBT in the coming year.
Find out more at: http://www.bloodban.co.uk
NHSBT is making cuts to our blood service nationally. A money-driven restructuring plan is slashing the number of labs which test, filter and process blood. This is wasting the skills of 100s of technicians and scientists who are losing their jobs, and means that hospitals’ blood supply is further away, a huge risk in case of emergencies.
Centralisation like this is often a prelude to privatisation. We all know the decline in care which the private sector brings when it gets its fangs into the NHS. The World Health Organisation (WHO) says that a purely voluntary blood service, free from profit, is the safest way to avoid infection. We share a free blood service with less than 25% of the world’s countries – we need to protect it as any one of us could need a transfusion to save our life.
Save Our Blood Service has been fighting cuts in NHSBT. We think that there is a chain of solidarity from the blood donor, to the healthcare workers, right through to the patient receiving the gift of life. We want all of these people to have a greater say in our health service. If you believe the same, we want to hear from you.
This leaflet is produced by the IWW, a union for all workers in every industry. We pull no punches in fighting for our members’ interests. We have no unelected officers and are affiliated to no political party.
Please visit our website: http://www.iww.org.uk