Aftercare & Services
The North West group has the most members of this kind of group anywhere in the UK – around 200 riders and 150 volunteers in other roles. A controller, controller manager and up to 12 bikers are usually available to take out-of-hours calls. They distribute items between 16 hospitals across 5 trusts, including tiny blood components called platelets, donor breast milk, patient notes, theatre equipment and anything else that fits on a motorcycle. The demand has increased rapidly in recent years, relieving pressure on the NHS. The Lottery grant funded one of the group’s 14 liveried bikes, though volunteers also use their own.
Chairman Paul Brooks, an ex-traffic policeman who helped set up the group, said: “We can get urgent items to hospitals quicker than a car can, and quicker than the NHS’s own drivers can. We have had people on the operating table urgently requiring blood and the bikes have got it to them in time. We don’t often know who we have helped because of data protection, it’s just good to know we have done our bit. Sometimes people have come to us and said they had a loved one who needed eight pints of blood and we got it there in time. The riders all get a buzz out of it. Many of them have joined because they want to pay back the NHS for helping them in some way.”
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