Return of the blood bikes

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Volunteer rider of seven years Martin Williams, WSBB's hospital liaison officer, pictured back in April.

THE blood bikers are back on the road again.

Bike chiefs at Warwickshire and Solihull Blood Bikes (WSBB) said they’re “delighted and things are back to normal” as they go about their business of delivering a free collection and delivery service to the NHA which has saved an estimated £700,000 since the bikers started invaluable contribution to the health and well-being of people living in Warwickshire and the West Midlands in 2012.

In April this year WSBB was dealt a body blow when the charity, which provides free out-of-hours blood supply service to the NHS in Coventry and Warwickshire, was told its services were no longer  needed as a new contract worth £14million had been awarded to QE Facilities, a wholly owned subsidiary company of Gateshead Health NHS Foundation Trust.

Following a public outcry over the decision and a petition containing 30,000 signatures University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire (UHCW) NHS Trust has this month changed its mind and its business as usual with the blood bikers.

A statement from UHCW reads: “University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire (UHCW) NHS Trust is once again working with Warwickshire and Solihull Blood Bikes (WSBB) to collect and deliver samples.

WSBB will be providing an out of hours service from 7pm on week days, as well as a 24 hour service at weekends and bank holidays, for urgent and emergency requests.

Blood bikers will work closely with the Coventry and Warwickshire Pathology Service (CWPS), which is overseen by UHCW.

Lisa Kelly, chief operating officer at UHCW, said: “The transport of samples is vital to our work and the blood bikers offer a dedicated, professional service.

“These kind volunteers, who give up their time free of charge, make a real difference to the people of Coventry and Warwickshire and local communities.

“We are delighted to continue working in partnership with WSBB. Our aim is to ensure The Coventry and Warwickshire Pathology Service (CWPS) continues to go from strength-to-strength and helps to further enhance the patient experience.”

The CWPS covers 1.6 million patients, four hospitals, nine Clinical Commissioning Groups and more than 250 GP practices, with around ten million samples being handled in 2018/19.

The safe transport of samples forms part of a Service Level Agreement now in place between UHCW and WSBB. The Blood Bikers started delivering once again at the start of the month.

 

Mark Lavery, chairman of WSBB, said: “It is with great pleasure that the Blood Bikes can once again do what we do best and help save University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Trust money with our free out of  hours service totally run by volunteers and funded by kind donations from the public.”