Did you know that NHS transport shuts down at 4 pm mon-fri and doesn’t operate at the weekend? This means, that in the evening and at weekends hospitals need to make alternative provision for items that need to be transported immediately. In many cases the alternative provision is to use a taxi. With taxi rates around £2 per mile and even more at night, it doesn’t take much for a hospital to run up huge bills that we the tax payer fund.
In 2006 cancer sufferer Vic Siswick had to have major surgery requiring many pints of blood. Whilst recovering Vic decided he would like to give something back to the NHS. Realising the south east and west of England had a blood bike Courier service but the north didn’t, Vic set up a motor cycle blood delivery team called White knights. Their aim was to save lives and the NHS money by providing a free, out of hours, urgent items transport service to NHS trusts in North, West and, from April 2014, South Yorkshire.
Through giving a talk to Huddersfield Advanced Motorcycles Vic managed to raise enough money to buy another bike. His enthusiasm and passion for the cause quickly earned him a dedicated team of volunteers and White Knights became a registered charity.
”At first it was difficult to get the hospitals to give us a chance. They couldn’t seem to grasp the idea of blood bikes being a free service,” Vic recounted. ”Eventually they decided to give us a go and our first call was on evening in August 2007. It was such a success that the hospital continued to use us and now we have four bikes all Honda RT1200p ex metropolitan police bikes running from 7 pm to 7 am weekdays and 24 hours during weekends and bank holidays.
All of the funding for blood bikes comes from donations. Insurance alone for the bike is £650 and then there is liability cover, fuel etc. Believing in group power Vic helped to set up the ‘Nationwide Association of Blood Bikes or NABB http://www.bloodbikes.org.uk. Being a member of the association means lower insurance costs and therefore lower overheads which means more bikes. Now over 90% of Britain is covered by blood bikes. That’s good to know.