A unique life-saving delivery service has received a £5,000 funding boost.
Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust has teamed up with Northumbria Blood Bikes, volunteer motorcyclists who deliver urgent and emergency items to the NHS at evenings and weekend.
The funding through the trust’s Bright Charity has gone towards the purchase of a motorbike to transport blood and fluid samples between the trust’s hospitals in Northumberland and North Tyneside.
Brenda Longstaff, the volunteer senior lead officer at the trust, said: “Time really is of the essence when a patient is suspected of having a serious infection, so to be able to call on a Blood Bike means patients can be diagnosed sooner.
“As geographically one of the largest trusts in England, we must look at innovative and efficient ways to transport people and products between our sites so we can continually invest in patient care and local services.”
Northumbria Blood Bikes, affiliated to the Nationwide Association of Blood Bikes, was set up last year. All volunteers are advanced riders who ride motorcycles that have specially-adapted carriers to transport the items.
Peter Robertson, chair of Northumbria Blood Bikes, said: “We are very pleased to be working with Northumbria Healthcare and extend our service to Northumberland and North Tyneside.
“Our service is entirely funded by donations so we are very grateful for their contribution.
“It is provided free of charge and means that the NHS can save money which would otherwise be spent on taxis or couriers, and this can be re-invested in frontline services and patient care.”
Blood bikes are also used to transport urgent patient records and medication at Northumbria Healthcare.
One of the blood bikes’ volunteers is Northumbria Healthcare employee Philippa Bromley, strategic lead for moving and handling.
She said: “As an advanced motorcyclist, a long-term blood donor and committed Northumbria Healthcare employee, I am proud to be an active member – and the only female rider at present – of the Northumbria Blood Bikes charity.
“My volunteer duties allow me to combine my keen interest in motorcycling with providing a high quality service across the hospitals that we serve.
“We’re on hand whenever we’re needed and a motorbike can make an urgent journey in a much shorter time – valuable minutes which could make all the difference to a patient.”