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Northumbria Healthcare supports life-saving bikes

Tuesday, 09 September, 2014
Northumbria Healthcare supports life-saving bikes

A unique life-saving delivery service has received a £5,000 funding boost from Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust.

The trust has teamed up with Northumbria Blood Bikes, a group of volunteer motorcyclists who deliver urgent and emergency items free of charge to the NHS at evenings and at weekends.

The funding through the trust’s Bright Charity has gone towards the purchase of a motorbike for the service which is used to transport blood and fluid samples between the trust’s hospitals across Northumberland and North Tyneside.

The service, which already operates at other hospitals in the North East, means that life-saving tests to detect serious infections such as meningitis are able to be carried out sooner, enabling diagnosis and treatment to start without delay.

The partnership also ensures that money that the trust would have had to spend on couriers and taxis to transport the samples between 7pm and 7am and all day at weekends can be reinvested in patient care.

Brenda Longstaff, charity and volunteer senior lead officer at Northumbria Healthcare, said: “We are delighted to be working in partnership with Northumbria Blood Bikes to help us provide this much-needed service for our patients.

“Time really is of the essence when a patient is suspected of having a serious infection such as meningitis so to be able to call on a Blood Bike is of great benefit and means that patients are able to 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.

“This is a great example of us doing just that and we look forward to expanding the service further.”

Northumbria Blood Bikes, a registered charity and affiliated to the Nationwide Association of Blood Bikes, was set up last year. All volunteers are advanced riders who are specially trained and ride motorcycles that have specially-adapted carriers to transport the items safely and securely.

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.

“We donate our time and skills for free because we want to help save lives and improve patient care.”

In addition to the blood and fluid samples, 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.”