Notts volunteers delivering blood to hospitals on motorbikes have made their 1,000th delivery – and are in discussion to deliver to more.
Nottinghamshire Blood Bikes has been transporting vital resources to and from hospitals across the county for four years.
The group has saved the NHS around £11,500 – and made the landmark delivery on Tuesday evening (June 13).
After delivering platelets – tiny red blood cells – to the Queen’s Medical Centre, rider Tony Mileham transported a box of platelets, a substance used for chemical reactions, to City Hospital to mark the 1000th delivery around 8.30pm.
Chris Huthwaite, the membership officer of the group, said “it’s a significant step” as the group hopes to increase the number of hospitals it delivers to.
He said: “We’ve been steadily increasing over time for the last 12 to 13 months. We are still scratching the surface as to what’s available to us.
“We’ve got 104 volunteers and 90 riders, many of whom are in the midst of training. We’ve got around 45 to 50 who are fully trained to go on the road.”
Nottinghamshire Blood Bikes spends a lot of time collecting resources from Highbury Hospital, in Bulwell, and making inter-deliveries to and from the QMC and City Hospital.
It also delivers to Kings Mill Hospital in Mansfield and makes deliveries to patients in Leeds and Sheffield.
Mr Huthwaite says the group is in discussion to deliver blood to the high-security Rampton Hospital, in Retford.
“We are at the moment discussing expanding the service to cover Rampton Hospital. We’re in discussion with that and we’re hopeful within a month that will go live,” he said.
The group has three motorbikes it uses to make deliveries that are used “most nights” – with volunteers on call to cover the three drivers working at any one time.
Mr Huthwaite says the group has been planning to purchase a fourth bike and will visit a local BMW dealership in the coming weeks.
He added: “In reality we’ve probably got enough volunteers and riders to cope with the significant expansion but it takes some time to get most of those people to through training plans and so on.
“We certainly don’t turn anyone away. And we would imagine the numbers we’ve got would comfortably double within the next year.”
The charity was set up in 2013 to provide out-of hours emergency transport to the NHS, delivering blood and other urgent medical supplies such as platelets, plasma, samples and medical records between hospitals.
The group also delivers to blood transfusion banks in Nottinghamshire.
The vehicles, driven by volunteers in hi-viz jackets, deliver resources quickly in emergencies to save patients’ lives.