Workplace Blood Donor Sessions

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2008 National LGBT Conference
23 July 2008

Conference is aware that some employers encourage their employees to donate blood by allowing the National Blood Service (NBS) to run donor sessions in the workplace.

Conference notes that for people who may be unable to donate due to current donor selection criteria (including many gay and bisexual men, as well as people with medical conditions, past IV drug use and people who have lived in sub-Saharan Africa) such workplace ‘blood drives’, can cause anxiety if they are unable to attend to donate blood, and they may fear being ‘outed’ at work as a result.

Conference reiterates UNISON’s call for criteria on who can and cannot donate blood to be based on up to date clinical, medical and epidemiological evidence and to continue to work with national blood services to review their procedures, so that gay and bisexual men are able to donate blood where consistent with adequacy and safety of the blood supply.

Irrespective of any future review of who can donate blood, many UNISON members will be unable to donate for what may be highly personal reasons and therefore may potentially be placed in anxiety provoking situations which employers have a duty to prevent. Conference is further concerned that some managers openly ask staff why they have not given blood in front of their colleagues, leading to such unacceptable situations. This should not be condoned under any circumstances.

Conference calls for continued dialogue with national blood services to ensure appropriate training and guidelines for staff involved in such ‘blood drives’ to seek to address such issues.

Conference calls upon the National Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) Committee to:

1. Publicise the new UNISON advice on best practice in workplace donor sessions and request that national service groups raise the issue with employers;

2. Seek examples of good practice in this area via regional groups and branches and include in updated advice;

3. Seek to promote this work via the Trades Union Congress LGBT Committee.

Conference calls upon regional and branch LGBT groups to publicise the advice and request that it is raised with regional service groups and local employers and feed back outcomes to the National LGBT Committee.