The blood donation deferral policies in the Western Cape have been adjusted to give people a better chance at becoming donors, and saving lives.
Cape Town, South Africa (15 March 2023) – After careful consideration and consultation with various experts, the Western Cape Blood Service has announced changes to its deferral policies which will benefit many people who have always wanted to donate, but couldn’t.
During March, the Western Cape Blood Service revised its blood donation deferral policies and made changes that may impact your next blood donation date.
‘We hope that the changes will result in fewer people being turned away from donating blood’, says Dr Caroline Hilton, Lead Medical Consultant at the Western Cape Blood Service.
A deferral period is a waiting period applied when a donor does not qualify to donate within the specified time due to various reasons, including certain activities or illnesses. Some of the policy changes mentioned above include reducing the deferral periods after dental procedures, and stricter deferrals were put in place following strokes or transient ischaemic attacks (‘mini strokes’).
“With the new changes put in place, we want to reassure the public that the safety of both the patient and donor will always remain our utmost priority.” Says Dr Hilton.
From now on, insulin-dependent diabetic blood donors can donate blood, provided their blood sugar levels are well controlled and they do not have any known diabetic complications. In addition, people with pacemakers can also donate blood. However, a confirmation letter is needed from their doctor stating that they are asymptomatic and the device was inserted more than 6 months before the day of donation.
People using intravenous recreational drugs were previously permanently deferred. Due to improved confidence in the testing methodologies used to detect specific viral infections in blood donations, they can now donate after a 3-month deferral. In addition, donors who have undergone a cardiac bypass or stent will be permitted to donate 6 months after the procedure without the previous requirement of a letter from their doctor, provided that they are asymptomatic.
Donors who underwent cosmetic procedures such as Botox, Micro-needling, and laser therapy can now donate immediately after these procedures, provided that the treatment was performed by a registered practitioner using disposable needles.
“These changes were carefully reviewed and compared to national and international policies, and we hope it will bolster our blood stocks,” says Dr Hilton.
For more information about the deferral policies, call Dr Caroline Hilton on 021 507 6441 or email email@example.com.