Life-saving charity Blood Bikes Scotland has boosted the number of shifts their volunteers work, including supporting a quicker process for NHS staff COVID-19 testing, as the pandemic sweeps Scotland.
Riders who volunteer at the charity, who have a dedicated car sponsored by leading personal injury firm Watermans Solicitors, responded to 450 jobs within the last month transporting medical supplies to the NHS in Lothian, Forth Valley, Fife and the Scottish Borders.
The extra shifts have been rolled out in relation to COVID-19 related requirements.
John Baxter, Chairman of the charity, said: “I am working harder now than before I retired but it’s great to be able to help the NHS even more at this critical time.
“Two of the additional shifts in Fife are directly COVID-19 related. One is providing shuttle runs between Cameron Hospital in Fife and the labs at Victoria Hospital in Kirkcaldy.
“As we are able to offer this in a timely manner it means the people being tested are likely to get their results back the same day. At the moment it is predominantly NHS staff being tested.
“The second service is evening cover for the Community Hub at Victoria. So if a patient presents with symptoms but does not require to be hospitalised and can return home, then our role is to deliver necessary medication to their home address.”
Operated by over 100 volunteers, Blood Bikes Scotland’s motorcyclists deliver urgent blood samples, specimens, medication, breast milk, equipment, or documentation at short notice for the NHS in the Borders, Lothians, Forth Valley and Fife, helping patients and saving the NHS money it would otherwise have to spend on taxis and couriers.
In September last year, Watermans announced a three-year sponsorship agreement to supply a car to the free-of-charge medical courier service.
John, who has been volunteering at the charity since 2016, said Blood Bikes Scotland are very grateful to Leith Gin and Paragon Group for supplying much sought after hand sanitiser and gloves for our bikes and riders.
“We’ve also added some extra shifts, at the Edinburgh Children’s Hospital, and similarly weekend shifts in NHS Forth Valley,” John revealed. “This shows our ability to be responsive and flexible in terms of our work, and demonstrates our commitment to help the NHS during this pandemic.”
The charity is appealing for donations from members of the public to allow volunteers to ramp up their services.
“Most months we do two or three collections outside the big supermarkets and other fundraising or sponsored events, but obviously this element of fundraising has had to stop completely,” John explained.
“We look to those efforts to primarily cover our running costs, which are around £3,500 every month. We have a real gap at the moment and this will have an impact on our ability to operate.
“If anyone is able to donate directly to us through Facebook or our Virgin Money Giving page on the website that would help us to continue our vital services.” – www.bloodbikesscotland.co.uk or via https://www.facebook.com/bloodbikesscotland/
Scott Whyte, Managing Director of Watermans Solicitors, said: “In these unprecedented times the free services provided to the NHS in Scotland by Blood Bikes Scotland are all the more valuable but at the same time come with greater risks for the charity’s volunteers.”