Blood Bikers – life savers outside the limelight

Volunteers from the UK's Blood Bikers outside the Ace CafeYou might not see Blood Bikers, you might know what Blood Bikers are but you should be happy to know that they’re there.

They’re normal people, normal riders, but they do an extraordinary job, delivering medical supplies at night, over weekends and during bank holidays when no one else is available.

Riding in the dark

Usually, medical supplies are distributed between hospitals and facilities by specialist courier services.

Unfortunately, night-time couriers in the UK are limited, with one to two drivers available in each region often spread across more than 20 major hospitals, which is why the Blood Bikers volunteers step into the breach.

In total there are around 1,500 unpaid volunteers on the Blood Bikers’ books, with 25 groups operating across the country as part of the Nationwide Association of Blood Bikers (NABB).

NABB’s numbers are growing and after making 39,000 trips in 2014, it’s clear that the number needs to keep increasing to keep up with demand.

Ambulances off the road

If it wasn’t for Blood Bikers, hospitals would be forced to take an ambulance off the road, make use of police cars or pay for taxis to distribute vital supplies that go beyond just blood.

Whether they’re delivering platelets, vaccinations or surgical equipment, Blood Bikers are on call across the UK at crunch times, ready to respond to emergency requests.

And the service provided by NABB has saved the NHS hundreds of thousands of pounds in courier fees, even before the amount of lives saved are factored into it.

According to NABB, that money saved can be put back into the NHS and pay for vital services and people.

The NABB survives on charitable donations. You can donate here.

National Geographic made this video outlining the vital work carried out by the unpaid Blood Biker volunteers across the UK.

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