Sanidad puts out public call for blood donors in Tenerife BUT British cannot donate

Sanidad puts out public call for blood donors in Tenerife BUT British cannot donate

Local press of all types is running the story that the local health authorities have put out a call for blood donations because supplies are running low and more than one operation has had to be cancelled. Social media has carried the call for blood far and wide … but most British donors cannot heed that call because Spain, due to fears about CJD (fears that many think unfounded despite clear evidence of risk) has rules forbidding anyone (British or not) to donate blood if they were in the UK for more than twelve months (consecutively or in total) between January 1980 and December 1996, the period in which meat was not controlled. These rules are also in place in other EU countries, so this is not a purely Spanish issue. Sad, but we cannot help alleviate the blood shortage. I know that the rumour mill sometimes makes it difficult if not impossible to distinguish fact from fiction but the ban, and its continued enforcement, is information that has been confirmed to me personally by the British Foreign Office in the last few days. In addition, the Spanish emergency services confirm it thus:

En relación a su consulta, por normativa de la UE, no puede trasfundirse sangre de personas (británicos o no) que hayan estado más de 12 meses (consecutivos o en total) en Reino Unido entre 1980 y 1996, la etapa en la que la carne no estaba controlada.


  1. Author

    Thank you Peter. I know from when I’ve mentioned the ban before, the general reaction has ranged from incredulity, to being offended that our blood “isn’t good enough” to “aren’t the Spanish idiots” … all without any reference to the facts, or the fact that it is not only Spain that has such restriction. Only the other day on Facebook a post went viral (at least in Tenerife) saying that the ban has been lifted because there’s a shortage of blood. It doesn’t matter whether it’s a misunderstanding of the correct information that there is a shortage of blood, or a pure attempt at hoax, or wishful thinking, or just malice. None the less, I clarified with the Foreign Office. I didn’t post here, though replied to the incorrect post on Facebook, but now the papers have gone with the “there’s a blood shortage and donors are needed” story, which is fine, but when the English language press does it without saying that their prime readership will not be able to donate, it’s a bit misleading!

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