Expats guide to Spanish life – donating blood in Spain

LIVING in Spain can bring with it an array of issues which may not have been encountered when living in the UK.
There are lots of things to consider, and we are here to help try to make the transition and life in Spain a little easier by compiling a series of helpful facts and figures relating to a variety of topics.
In Spain, Blood Components and Services are provided by 17 Regional Blood Transfusion Services. Despite their autonomous operations management, every regional service is fully incorporated into a unique and common Public National Health System, supplying a cohesive blood transfusion care to all citizens, residents, and visitors in Spain based on 100 per cent voluntary and non-remunerated blood donation. For more general information, visit www.msps.es
Anyone who has lived continuously in the UK between 1980 and 1996 (a minimum of one year) will not be able to donate blood in Spain due to the risk of transmitting mad cow disease. Similarly, there are restrictions if you have received a blood transfer in the UK. However, each region may have different rules about donation. Call the donation helpline on 935 573 500. Alternatively, visit www.donorsang.gencat.cat to find out if you are eligible.
If you are eligible, you can give blood at your local hospital, or via the Spanish Red Cross (Cruz Roja) at one of their clinics, or in one of their mobile units. You can check dates and locations by visiting www.donarsangre.org
A donor card is not necessary to give blood. On the first visit you will have to provide DNI, NIE, passport or a driving licence. If you are already registered in the Blood Bank, you only need a donor card or a document with your name and surname.
The process of blood donation takes just 10 minutes in which 450 ml are collected (equating to 10 per cent of the total blood circulation of an adult person).
Despite huge technological advances, the only way for hospitals to obtain blood is through the generosity of the public. The blood is carefully screened for disease to make sure it is safe.
After a tattoo, you must wait four months to be eligible to donate.
After surgery, the exclusion period will depend on the type of intervention. After minor surgical procedures, you cannot donate blood for seven days or until you are fully recovered. After undergoing major surgery, you will not be able to donate blood for four months.
The rarest blood type is AB, present in one per cent of Caucasians, according to research by the America Red Cross.
Blood transfusions are carried out daily in Spanish hospitals with more than 6,200 patients being given them, of whom almost a quarter are fighting cancer and a similar figure receiving transfusions during or after surgery.
Spain has around two million donors in total, but needs closer to four million.
Sponsored by Blevins Franks, for more information about the sponsors go to www.blevinsfranks.com or call them on 965 705 502

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