YFW Bloodbikes provides an emergency motorcycle courier service, free of charge, to the NHS.

We carry 200+ packages each month for Taunton, Yeovil and Dorchester hospitals: primarily, emergency pathology samples; blood for transfusion; theatre equipment and medicines to patients discharged to homes and care homes across Somerset and Dorset. We provide a life-saving service–on average hospitals authorise ten tasks each month to be conducted using blue lights.

We also improve patient flow, patients ready for discharge do not have to wait for their medication before going home; the hospital can send them immediately and we follow up with the medicine later in the day. This effectively increases hospital capacity.

Our 81 volunteers have seen a significant increase in workload since the start of the coronavirus outbreak, running hundreds of samples for analysis, initially to London and currently to Bristol, from patients suspected of having the virus.

The hospitals have warned us to expect a further increase in tasking as clinics are replaced with telephone consultations as a result of measures to combat Covid-19.

We have also been asked to support hospital contingency plans to replace internal NHS courier services if NHS drivers are isolated, having caught the virus.

Our service is achieved with highly trained, volunteer bikers, working without reimbursement, using motorcycles that are fuelled and maintained through public donation. The main source of donation is public events.

These events are being cancelled on Government advice.

In previous years our fundraising strategy has proved to be robust.

However, we have now identified a shortfall of £12,500 against our budget as a direct result of events cancellations.

This represents five months of service provision.

The increased demand from Covid-19 activity is likely to cost us around £5,000.

Noting that the Government has announced a war chest for businesses, would it not be appropriate to provide grants to charities working directly for the NHS?

Without assistance, our reserves are not adequate to sustain our essential service throughout the pandemic.

Would you please urge your colleagues to take immediate action to cover our £17,500 shortfall?

This modest amount would enable us to continue our support to the NHS until public events are back up and running.

  • This letter has been sent to the MPs for Somerton and Frome, Wells, Yeovil, Taunton Deane, North Dorset, South Dorset and West Dorset by locally resident members, as this constitutes our operational area.

Paul Wade

(Blood Biker)

38 Rothesay Road