Could you be a blood biker?
We hope you never have cause to need the services supplied by voluntary blood bike riders.
But, as a biker, there is a far higher chance that you and every other biker in the UK will be in need of emergency blood.
Delivering emergency blood supplies is a vital part of the NHS yet remarkably it is delivered by a mostly volunteer force, a group of independent local organisations, many represented by the Nationwide Association of Blood Bikers (NABB).
Very often a blood bike can get supplies between hospitals even quicker than an ambulance running with flashing lights.
Each time a blood biker, or Bloodrunners as SERV, another organisation also involved in running groups call its riders and drivers, the hospital involved will save £75-£100 on average.
But where a blood biker or ambulance aren’t available, a hospital trust will have no choice but to use a paid-for taxi. This costs trusts and hospitals hundreds of thousands of pounds per year.
NABB has 27 member groups spread around the country, manned by over 1700 volunteers. In any year they can be called on to transport between 35,000-40,000 emergency blood deliveries.
Film: A night in the life of a volunteer blood biker.
How do you volunteer?
When you volunteer to join a blood delivery group you need to take advanced training, but once you have, you’ll become a very valuable asset in your area’s health provision. Every group has a permanent call for new volunteers.
The first step is to get in touch with your nearest volunteer group of blood bikers. This map shows you local NABB and non-NABB groups.
Some areas of the country are well served, but some are still in need of a dedicated group.
Not just bikers are needed
Although bikers and sometimes car drivers are providing the actual transport of blood there are other critical roles in each local group.
Controllers take the calls from hospitals, then reach out to the volunteers to see who can deliver.
Fundraisers go out into the community to try and raise financial support for local groups.
If you don’t have the time to become an actual volunteer blood biker, then you can still make a contribution. Using MyDonate you can make a direct financial donation to help fund NABB. Many of the local groups also have donate buttons on their websites.
You can read more about what it means to be a volunteer blood biker in this in-depth article on the Guardian website.