Why ‘blood bikes’ are so important to us

Published on: 30 Jun 2014


THE organisation providing community health services in the Downend area is supporting a cause that’s very close to home.

Sirona has chosen Freewheelers, which provides a free out-of-hours motorcycle courier service across Bath, South Gloucestershire, Somerset, Bristol and West Wiltshire, as its charity of the year.

Sometimes called Blood Bikes, Freewheelers transports blood for transfusion, samples for pathological or microbiological analysis, drugs, patient notes, x-rays, scans and medical equipment. Anything the NHS needs to be moved can be carried on their bikes, each of which is equipped with high-visibility markings, blue lights and sirens for emergency use.

Sirona employs more than 2,000 people in South Gloucestershire and B&NES.

Simon Knighton, Sirona’s chairman, said: “Each year, Sirona Care & Health aims to contribute to the communities it serves in a number of different ways.

“One way of doing this is if we make a surplus, then we invest a small amount of that into a local charity to be chosen by our staff and members.”

Staff will also raise funds for Freewheelers, whose members are all volunteers.

Spokesman Peter Hawkes said: “The support that Sirona will give us throughout this year will be a huge help in enabling us to continue our work supporting NHS units and the community we live in.”

Freewheelers have three bikes on call at any one time and their 100 members are riders, coordinators or fundraisers – some performing all three roles. All the riders hold an Advanced Motorcycling qualification.

They operate from 7pm until 7am Monday to Thursday and from 7pm Friday to 7am Monday with a 24 hour service offered on bank holidays too. Each week is divided into two shifts.

In 2013 Freewheelers dealt with more than 3,500 calls. The highest number of calls handled in one shift was 62.

For more information on Freewheelers visit www.freewheelers.org.uk

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