Blood Bikes

On 3rd March Health and Wellbeing had a visit from Alastair Borland MBE who is Chairman and an active member of the Rapid Response Medical Transport Service which is a Registered Charity and delivers blood, platelets, plasma, samples, vaccines, pharmaceuticals, X-rays, scans, donor breast milk and any other urgently needed medical items out ofhours, free of charge to the NHS. Alastair gave us a brief history of the little known service which started, by chance, by Margaret Rice offering to go to the Brentwood Blood Bank to collect some much needed blood for her dangerously ill husband (out of hours).

There is no out of hours service to deliver urgent bloods etc and without this service deliveries may go via Taxi, Courier or even an ambulance (taking it out of service to make this delivery) and therefore is a costly exercise ! This out of hours/emergency service is run by volunteers with motorcycles who are on-call 7pm-6am weekdays and cover weekends and all bank holidays. Motorcycles enable a rapid response both quickly and efficiently particularly in heavy traffic. The service operates mostly between NHS and medical establishments with a bank of riders available for service and there is a rota of three bikers per shift although others can be deployed as and when.

All riders are voluntary and do not receive payment, they are like minded “bikers” both male and female who give their time for free. It costs an average of £6500 per annum for fuel, servicing, maintenance and repairs for each of the dedicated response bikes. (This does not include purchasing bikes/replacement, equipment, training, insurance and other costs). Ten bikes with trackers, satnav, and sirens as fitted, are in service and as these are heavily used these require upkeep and indeed regular replacement. Riders for the service are highly qualified with advance qualifications and undertake induction to include route/hospital contact point training complete with an exam. The service runs across Oxfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Bedfordshire and Northamptonshire Hospitals and is very well used ! This service has been running for 12 years and yet the majority of the meeting were unaware of its existence. A real eye opener for us all!

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