The overall aim of this research project is to link NHSBT donor records to a variety of e-health records. The objective is to address a question of considerable national and international public health importance: what is the balance of any risks and benefits of repeated whole blood and platelet donation by apheresis on major chronic disease outcomes?
Previous studies have been contradictory, suggesting that blood donation could either elevate or reduce the risk of diabetes, certain common cancers, and cardiovascular disease. However, the quality of previous research has been inadequate, even though tens of millions of people continue to donate blood in the UK and worldwide.
Using data already recorded by NHSBT, we are conducting a pilot study to establish whether or not it is possible to link donation records to other health service records. This pilot study, which is being conducted with all the necessary approvals, will support the analysis of whether whole blood and platelet donation has any long-term effect on donor health.