A life-saving blood delivery service has received a funding boost from a North East health trust.
Northumbria Blood Bikes, a group of volunteer motorcyclists who deliver urgent and emergency items free of charge to the NHS at evenings and weekends, has been given £5,000 from Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust.
The funding through the trust’s Bright Charity has gone towards buying a motorbike for the service which is used to transport blood and fluid samples between the trust’s hospitals across Northumberland and North Tyneside.
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.”
Blood Bikes, which already operates at other hospitals in the North East, means 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 the trust would have had to spend on couriers between 7pm and 7am and at weekends can be reinvested in patient care.
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.”
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.