English-speakers will soon be able to donate blood in Stockholm

For the first time, people who speak English but not Swedish will be able to donate blood at a Stockholm clinic from the middle of January onwards.

English-speakers will soon be able to donate blood in Stockholm
Internationals can face hurdles when giving blood in Sweden. File photo: Markus Dahlberg/SCANPIX

English-speakers will be able to visit a Blodcentralen clinic in the Swedish capital from January 16th, when plans which The Local reported on last summer will come into force.

Currently, it is only possible to give blood if the donor has sufficient knowledge of the Swedish language, and it is up to the nurse to assess the donor's level of understanding.

READ MORE: Foreigners must speak Swedish to donate blood – but this is about to change

This is so that the donor can fully understand the health declaration all donors must sign, which ensures donated blood is safe. Although an explanation of why donors must speak Swedish is available in several languages, the health declaration itself has only been available in Swedish.

Now, the relevant material has been translated into English and some staff have undergone training in medical English in order to be able to accept English-speaking donors.

“More blood donors are needed. A large number of people have lived in Stockholm long-term, but don't speak Swedish. We want to welcome them. Many English-speakers have expressed a wish to give blood,” said Maria Kvist, a doctor at Blodcentralen.

To begin with, English-speakers will only be able to donate blood on Wednesdays at Blodcentralen's Hötorget location, or at other times at Blodcentralen Hötorget, Skanstull and Odenplan if donors get in touch in advance to ensure English-speaking staff will be available.

At the moment there is no information about whether English-speakers will be able to donate blood in other areas of the country in future; as healthcare is run at a regional level, it is up to individual regional councils to decide whether to make this possible.

All donors must have a Swedish personal number and ID document for tracking purposes, and must also fulfill other requirements including being aged 16-60, weighing at least 50 kg, and not having recently had a tattoo, for example. Read the full list of requirements here.

International travel can also affect eligibility. In most cases, if you have been to a country outside of Europe you must wait four weeks after returning to Sweden before giving blood. And if you lived your first five years in a Malaria zone and go home briefly to visit, you have to wait three years to donate after returning to Sweden.

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