Blood Bikes Cumbria gets cash injection from council

Blood Bikes Cumbria

Chair of Local Committee Councillor Cyril Weber

A charity transporting vital blood and medical supplies to hospitals in Cumbria is receiving a range of support from the county council.

Blood Bikes Cumbria is a group of around 50 volunteers who provide an out-of-hours emergency transport service for the NHS, carrying everything from blood to breast milk supplies between the West Cumberland Hospital in Whitehaven, Carlisle's Cumberland Infirmary and haematology laboratories in Newcastle.

The courier service provided by Blood Bikes helps to save lives and also enables the NHS to make savings on transport costs, which is instead used to fund patient care in Cumbria.

Cumbria County Council has recognised the important work being done by the volunteers, who give up their own time to provide the out-of-hours service.

The council's Carlisle Local Committee has agreed a £ 5,000 grant to Blood Bikes Cumbria, which will help fund the cost of a dedicated 'blood bike' based in the Carlisle area.

Cumbria Fire and Rescue Service is also playing its part in helping make the job quicker and safer by teaming up with Blood Bikes Cumbria to provide safe and secure storage space for their motorcycles at fire stations in Whitehaven and Keswick. The arrangement will allow the charity to have close access to the West Cumberland Hospital and a central point for rapid collection when the bikes are required.

Councillor Cyril Weber, Chair of Cumbria County Council's Carlisle Local Committee, said: "We were delighted to support Blood Bikes Cumbria, whose volunteers provide a potentially life-saving service. The hospitals previously had no alternative than to use private couriers or taxis to transport vital supplies, because of the distances between our local hospitals and other facilities in Newcastle."

Councillor Barry Doughty, Cumbria County Council Cabinet member for the fire service, added: "Blood Bikes Cumbria volunteers give their time freely, pay most of their running costs and often use their own motorcycles, which has reduced NHS Trusts' transport costs and saved thousands of pounds over the year. As one of the emergency services, the fire and rescue service is delighted to support their efforts by providing a safe and secure home for their bikes at two of our fire stations."

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