Although demand for blood transfusions is increasing in England due to the needs of an ageing population, blood supply is critically limited by difficulties in attracting and retaining donors.
To minimise iron deficiency, NHSBT has adopted a cautious approach, allowing men and women to donate every 16-weeks (for men, this will be reduced to 12-weeks in the near future). However, other EU countries allow donations as frequently as every 8-weeks for men and every 12-weeks for women.
The INTERVAL randomised trial, involving 50,000 blood donors, aims to find the optimum interval for which it is safe for different donors to give blood. The study will look at whether donation intervals should be tailored to donors by age, gender, genetic profile and other characteristics. The study’s findings will help to improve the well-being of blood donors in England and enhance the country’s blood supplies.