Dáil Éireann - Volume 542 - 24 October, 2001

Written Answers. - Blood Donation Screening.

210. Mr. G. Mitchell asked the Minister for Health and Children if he has asked the Irish Blood Transfusion Service Board if it has the capacity to undertake additional screening of blood donations which could lead to the early detection of disease or ill-health. [25532/01]

Minister for Health and Children (Mr. Martin): I understand that as a first step in the donor selection process the Irish Blood Transfusion Service elicits a detailed donor history to detect any underlying disease or illness which may prevent a person from donating. A range of tests is conducted on donations in line with leading transfusion services internationally. Where test results indicate a possible health problem, the donors are contacted and provided with information concerning test results and where appropriate they are referred to their own medical advisers.

My Department has not asked the Irish Blood Transfusion Service to conduct additional screening of the kind referred to by the Deputy. If the IBTS were to provide such a service, persons who consider that they may have a medical condition or illness might donate in order to obtain a medical diagnosis and this could have detrimental implications for the safety of the blood supply.