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Highland blood bikes service is ready for launch


By Val Sweeney

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Julie Bradbury, of the Maximus Foundation, hands over £2500 to Highlands and Islands Blood Bikes.
Julie Bradbury, of the Maximus Foundation, hands over £2500 to Highlands and Islands Blood Bikes.

A volunteer service delivering urgent samples and medical supplies for NHS Highland is expected to be launched in the next few weeks.

The charity, Highland and Islands Blood Bikes, was set up about a year ago by a group of motorbike enthusiasts with the aim of delivering a free out-of-hours service between hospitals and healthcare sites, including Raigmore Hospital in Inverness.

With the long-awaited project set to become fully operational in March, the group has celebrated a £2500 grant from not-for-profit enterprise, the Maximus Foundation UK, towards the cost of one of its two motorcycles which has has been named Maximus in a gesture of appreciation.

Graham Allan, vice chairman of Highlands and Islands Blood Bikes, is delighted the service is now on the verge of going live.

“We are doing a pilot scheme for six months so both parties can get a feel of what is going on and see what both can and cannot do,” he said.

“There has not been a blood bike service in the Highlands before. We are both going into new territory.

“It is an exciting and nervous time.”

Currently, NHS Highland relies on taxis or couriers to transfer test samples, urgent medical supplies and emergency medical equipment out-of-hours, incurring significant costs.

Under the new venture, volunteer motorcyclists will be on standby between 6pm and 6am Monday to Friday and 6pm on Friday to 6am on Monday and will be co-ordinated by a volunteer controller.

“We can be collecting samples through the night and delivering them to the laboratory in Raigmore which is operational 24 hours a day,” Mr Allan said.

So far, about 100 volunteers have registered and 12 bike riders have passed their assessments.

They will use the special motorcycles which were provided by a Blood Bikes group in Dumfries and Galloway.

Mr Allan, a maintenance engineer who lives near Culbokie, said he and other members were constantly fundraising to pay back the cost of the bikes – £4000 each – and for future running costs.

Members were delighted to receive the funding from the Maximus Foundation UK which provides grants to local charities and non-profit organisations which support disadvantaged groups, particularly those contributing to personal growth and self-sufficiency in areas of health, employment and community development.

It was handed over by foundation representative Julie Bradbury, of Inverness.

The other motorcycle is still waiting to be named. Anyone wishing to be a sponsor can do so for six or 12-month periods.

A volunteer service delivering urgent samples and medical supplies for NHS Highland is expected to be launched in the next few weeks.

The charity, Highland and Islands Blood Bikes, was set up about a year ago by a group of motorbike enthusiasts with the aim of delivering a free out-of-hours service between hospitals and healthcare sites, including Raigmore Hospital in Inverness.

With the long-awaited project set to become fully operational in March, the group has celebrated a £2500 grant from not-for-profit enterprise, the Maximus Foundation UK, towards the cost of one of its two motorcycles which has has been named Maximus in a gesture of appreciation.

Graham Allan, vice chairman of Highlands and Islands Blood Bikes, is delighted the service is now on the verge of going live.

“We are doing a pilot scheme for six months so both parties can get a feel of what is going on and see what both can and cannot do,” he said.

“There has not been a blood bike service in the Highlands before. We are both going into new territory.

“It is an exciting and nervous time.”

Currently, NHS Highland relies on taxis or couriers to transfer test samples, urgent medical supplies and emergency medical equipment out-of-hours, incurring significant costs.

Under the new venture, volunteer motorcyclists will be on standby between 6pm and 6am Monday to Friday and 6pm on Friday to 6am on Monday and will be co-ordinated by a volunteer controller.

“We can be collecting samples through the night and delivering them to the laboratory in Raigmore which is operational 24 hours a day,” Mr Allan said.

So far, about 100 volunteers have registered and 12 bike riders have passed their assessments.

They will use the special motorcycles which were provided by a Blood Bikes group in Dumfries and Galloway.

Mr Allan, a maintenance engineer who lives near Culbokie, said he and other members were constantly fundraising to pay back the cost of the bikes – £4000 each – and for future running costs.

Members were delighted to receive the funding from the Maximus Foundation UK which provides grants to local charities and non-profit organisations which support disadvantaged groups, particularly those contributing to personal growth and self-sufficiency in areas of health, employment and community development.

It was handed over by foundation representative Julie Bradbury, of Inverness.

The other motorcycle is still waiting to be named. Anyone wishing to be a sponsor can do so for six or 12-month periods.



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