Blood donors sought in Tenerife BUT British can only donate under certain circumstances

After yet another call from regional health authorities for blood donations, it is worth clarifying that many British donors cannot heed the call because Spain, due to fears about CJD, 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.

As the years pass, however, more and more people will be here who were not even born in 1996, and so British nationals can give blood provided they can show they were not in the UK between those dates. Anyone else, however, will sadly be unable to help. This information has been confirmed by the British Foreign Office and the emergency services here, who say:

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.

EU rules mean that no-one (British or not) can donate blood if they spent more than 12 months (consecutively or in total) in the UK between 1980 and 1996, the period in which meat was not controlled.


  1. Having high iron is a health risk ie blood clots, heart attacks,surley for medical reasons they should remove 1 unit of blood even if they have to dispose it as contaminated..I work and pay into the NHS system here it is a medical need

  2. I suffer from high iron and have to rid myself of blood to lower the iron, i have been veggie over 30 years but the blood bank still won’t take my blood even though it is a danger to my health, i have arranged to go to England to do this,,,crazy

    1. Author

      It’s not crazy, really, because it’s an EU-wide response to the BSE crisis the UK had. They have to have a rule that apply across the board and inevitably such rules can’t make individual exceptions. Also, do bear in mind that any vegetarian might have eaten infected products unwittingly. They cannot take the risk.

  3. 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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