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Q&A with Blood Bikes
Every year the Roythornes staff nominate and vote for a charity of the year, this year (2019) Blood Bikes (both the Lincolnshire and Nottinghamshire) won by a landslide. It's a charity many people don't know exists but the work they do saves lives up and down the country, rain or shine. We spoke to deputy chair of Lincolnshire Emergency Blood Bikes Service (LEBBS), Charles Douse about what his life is like as a Blood Biker ...
Although we do carry whole blood when required, we also carry products made from blood, e.g. Plasma and Platelets. We also transport test samples, X-Ray plates, Medication, Patient’s notes and Donor Breast Milk.
In fact anything that will fit on a motorcycle that is important.
Normally I volunteer for the day shift which runs from 07:00 to 19:00, but either shift will get a call from the Duty Controller at 6.30 am/pm to check that the riders are ready. After that I will get the bike out of the garage and make sure it starts, then make sure all the clothing is ready. A good breakfast is important before the first run comes in.
Finally get on with jobs around the house so I can respond quickly if required.
The night shift is very similar other than after midnight you can afford to get some sleep in.
I had time spare and had tried a variety of things including a spell as a LIVES responder. So I liked riding motorcycles and in 2012 I saw a stand at Newark showground for Blood Bikes and they were looking for riders. As they say “no brainer!” I have been actively riding for LEBBS ever since.
That is very difficult to say as it depends on so many things, in the north of the county they are very busy around Scunthorpe Hospital. Here in the south we are not so busy so some weekends I might not get a call at all other weeks we can be out all day especially if I get a call to go to Sheffield.
We have seen a total of 23 calls across the county over a Bank holiday weekend, and 17 or 18 on a normal weekend.
This can be complicated if we are asked to carry several items at the same time.
We have 93 riders/drivers covering the whole county of which we need 5 every weekend, three on days and 2 on nights plus we have one controller and a duty committee member on duty too.
I suppose the one thing that we get asked when we are out is if we know where people can give blood?
So that leads to the most common misconceptions, we are not part of the NHS Blood Transfusion Service and we are definitely not employed by the NHS.
Every one of our members is a volunteer and they pay to join the charity every year plus if the ride for us they have to be tested every 3 years to ensure they maintain the high standards of riding that are required.
If you go to our website https://www.lebbs.org and click on “About Us” then selecting “Contact” from the drop down list. Anyone interested can ask a question before deciding.
If you are sure you want to be a member then click on “Join Us” and follow the option on the drop down. This will lead you to our special membership site where you can join us.