• Rona Mackay MSP



An SNP MSP who led the campaign for the relaxation of blood donation rules for gay and bisexual men has welcomed the announcement that a blanket ban on blood donation for any men who have had sex with men in the last three months will be lifted in Scotland.

The new rules mean that men who have sex with men in a long-term relationship will now be able to donate blood at any time. The changes will be implemented by summer 2021.

In 2016, Rona Mackay MSP hosted a debate which had cross-party support on the topic in the Scottish parliament. A short time after that, the rules were relaxed, and gay and bisexual men were asked to abstain from sex for 3 months rather than 12 months.

The MSP for Bearsden and Strathkelvin also spoke about lifting the ban for gay and bisexual men donating blood and moving towards an individual risk-based assessment at the SNP conference in 2016.

Rona Mackay MSP said:

“These changes, which will ensure that all people can donate blood and are not assessed by their sexual orientation, are a huge step forward which I hope will increase the number of much-needed donors throughout Scotland.

“Four years ago, I was proud to lead the calls for Scotland to go further to ensure that all people can donate blood based on their personal risk of blood borne virus transmission, not their sexual orientation.

"Now, the Scottish Government has introduced a new non-discriminatory risk assessment policy that will judge each individual equally whether they are straight, bisexual or gay.

“Donating blood is a life-saving act and, with these changes set to be implemented in Scotland next year, I hope more people will consider donating so that many more lives can be saved.” END

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Rona Mackay was elected in May 2016 with a 8,100 majority in Strathkelvin and Bearsden.

Prior to this, she was a journalist in national newspapers for more than 20 years, before becoming Parliamentary Assistant to Clydebank and Milngavie MSP Gil Paterson, with whom she worked for nine years before becoming elected.



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