Volunteers needed for out-of-hours lifesaver

Highlands & Islands Blood Bikes Vice-Chairman Graham Allan receives a cheque for £2,500 from the Maximus Foundation's Julie Bradbury. Photograph by John Bird.

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An out-of-hours lifesaving service  delivering essential blood and urgent medical supplies for the NHS is looking for Oban volunteers to help get it on the road.

Blood Bikes was first set up in the Inverness area by a group of enthusiastic bikers, but NHS Highlands has now asked them to extend the service, which relies on donations to keep it up and running, to cover  Oban and Fort William.

The idea is eventually to cover the whole of the Highlands and Islands with a network of bikers, call takers and fundraisers to keep the scheme, which save the NHS money and resources, moving.

After a Facebook post on Information Oban, a few people have already been in touch to find out more said the project’s vice-chairman Graham Allan.

As well as bikers with advanced motorcycle certificates, Blood Bikes also needs car drivers in case of bad biking weather conditions and people willing to be ‘controllers’ and pick up the NHS calls.

‘Bikers are just part of the big operational team we need to put together in Oban,’ said Mr Allan.

Although whole blood can be transported by bikers in England and Wales, it is not happening in Scotland yet – although that will change at some point, added Mr Allan.

For the time being, the bikes are delivering blood samples to Raignure Hospital in Inverness as well as other urgent samples needing to be taken to and from laboratories.

Blood Bikes are also on call to deliver equipment, for example a home delivery to a patient who needs a replacement part for a broken oxygen mask.

The health authority currently relies on taxis or couriers when hospital van drivers are not on duty.

A Blood Bikes pilot scheme is due to start up in the next few weeks covering 6pm to 6am Monday to Friday and right through the weekend.

Sponsorship is also needed to help fund the bikes and maintain them.

Recently the Inverness and Highlands scheme took on a second-hand bike from the Dumfries and Galloway Blood Bikes scheme. It now has a fleet of two. A new bike costs around £12,000.

If enough bikers and drivers are recruited from Oban and Fort William, the idea would be to organise journeys in relays to help speed up deliveries and lessen travelling times. The plan would also be to have the area’s own bikes.

Interested? Go to haibloodbikes.co.uk