Meet the bikers transporting blood for transfusions

A group of motorbike riders are dedicating their free time to transport transfusion blood to North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust from across the UK.

Bloodrun EVS (Emergency Voluntary Service) is a charity that provides a free, voluntary blood courier service to NHS hospitals and Trusts across the North East.

The bikers have a close-knit relationship with the pathology laboratory at the Trust and work around the clock to deliver transfusion blood and blood samples across the country to the Trust’s hospitals. The service works as an alternative to using taxis – an added cost to the NHS.

74-year-old Margaret Finegan is a voluntary duty controller for Bloodrun. She works as a link between the riders and the Trust’s pathology department.

Margaret said: “We all do it for the same reason – to try and save the NHS money.”

At the moment transfusion blood can only be transported in a car while motorbikes carry blood samples and other necessities such as breastmilk and doctors notes. But the charity is working closely with the Trust to give the bikes validation to be able to carry blood products.

Margaret continued: “If we can achieve that it would be fantastic, it gives us so many more options. The riders are really excited to be able to get out on the bikes and take the blood.”

The trial has so far been a success and this week two motorbikes, ridden by volunteers Mac Watson and Bren Smith, arrived at the University Hospital of North Tees with transfusion blood intact and at the correct temperature.

While cars can carry more weight, motorbikes allow the charity to transport blood and samples to the Trust’s hospitals at a much quicker speed as they bypass any traffic jams.

72-year-old Mac commented: “We do it to put a bit back in. We’ve all used the NHS over the years.

“We like to think that what we are doing is helping somebody to make a speedy recovery in hospital.”

Established in 2010, Bloodrun have a crew of about 80 volunteers, and they’re not all bikers or drivers. Many work behind the scenes to coordinate pick-ups and drop-offs, fundraise and to keep the service running.

The bikers offer themselves up to ride the motorbikes in any weather to provide the urgent transport service. They work closely with the pathology lab to make sure blood and samples are transported safely and securely in special storage boxes and waterproof thermal bags on the back of the bikes.

Marie Walker, transfusion laboratory manager for the Trust, said: “Bloodrun is a fantastic service that is often overlooked, and to pathology staff they are the unsung heroes of the NHS.

“To transport blood products out of hours the Trust would normally use a registered taxi firm, but Bloodrun provide this service to us for free. They are all lovely, friendly volunteers who want to help.”

To find out more about Bloodrun, how to volunteer or to donate to the charity, please visit their website.

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