During normal working hours, the NHS and Charitable Health Organisations use their own transportation systems to move Blood, Plasma, Tissue Samples, Documentation and other vital supplies between Hospitals, Hospices and Supply Centres.
Out of hours these systems are not available, and the reliance falls upon Private Hire Taxi Companies, Couriers and in exceptional circumstances, Emergency Services such as the Police or Ambulance Service.
We are just one of many Charitable organisations that provide a similar service around the United Kingdom and we are governed and overseen by the National Association of Blood Bikes NABB who share our mission to provide reliable, free and high quality provision to NHS trusts and hospices throughout the UK.
Despite having full time Jobs, many of our members still give their spare time to help run and maintain what is a truly worthwhile charity, and an organization who are intent on making a difference.
WSBB was formed by a group of Warwickshire Bikers who recognised that their passion for riding could be put to good use in the service of the local community. Originally named Warwickshire Freewheelers, its operating statement was ‘To relieve sickness and protect health by the provision of transporting urgently needed blood, drugs, human tissue and other medical requirements between hospitals and blood transfusion banks, primarily but not exclusively in Warwickshire and Coventry and surrounding areas.’ A Service Level Agreement was put in place with University Hospital of Coventry And Warwickshire which is reviewed annually and with the support of Triumph Motorcycles, who provided two bikes to the charity at no cost, the service began operating in July 2012 undertaking deliveries between 7.00 pm and 6.00 am on weekdays and over 24 hours at weekends and bank holidays. In 2014 the group became a registered charity and amalgamated with Touchwood Emergency Riders Service based in Solihull and was renamed Warwickshire & Solihull Bloodbikes to reflect this development. Currently WSBB has over 80 members, all of whom are volunteers.
This year the group has committed itself to promoting rider safety and is training prospective riders to the standard where they are able to achieve advanced rider qualifications with ROSPA or the Institute of Advanced Motorcyclists. This is the level required before anyone can ride for WSBB. The NHS does not pay anything to receive the service, so all funds have to be raised by members. The group now has to buy it’s own bikes; it has two BMW's, a Triumph Trophy and a Honda PanEuropean to operate the service. The operating cost of the last financial year was £15,800 of which £3,000 was for fuel (although not all riders reclaim fuel costs) and £4,000 was for costs associated with keeping the bikes on the road. The remainder was for the replacement of one bike, insurance costs and other overheads.
The service is recognised as being of critical value to the NHS and its patients, but it depends on the significant investment of time by its volunteers. Riders are willing to be called out at all times and in all weathers to make urgent deliveries and they in turn depend on those who co-ordinate their work on the telephones. None of this would be possible however without the enormous fund raising effort needed to provide the financial backing required to keep them on the road.