In a 24 / 7 NHS will charities still be needed to deliver blood?

On 20th December 2016 the Tenby Observer reported: Blood Bikes donation and the Herald follows this up with “New Blood Bike for Withybush” on December 30th, and the Western Telegraph with New bike for blood transport charity Blood Bikes Wales thanks to generous donation. In an age of diminishing volunteering, NHSreality applauds the virtue of this charity. But why is private funding needed for an essential un-rationed, 24/7 service? Presumably when Mr Hunt gets his way the charity will not be needed? Looks a bit silly when the same Health Board is spending £220K more on management.

CHRISTMAS has come early for a charity providing vital out-of-hours blood and other medical transportation.

A former Pembroke resident, with a love of motorbikes, Richard Evans, made a huge donation to the Blood Bike service, meaning a brand new motorbike could be bought.

Richard donated £30,000 to the charity which will keep the bike on the road in Pembrokeshire for around five years.

Blood Bike Wales is a group of volunteers helping to transport blood supplies, plasma, breast milk, documents and other items between hospitals out of hours.The NHS uses its own transportation system to move supplies Monday to Friday. But between 7pm and 7am on weekdays, and during weekends and bank holidays, the police, ambulance service, taxis and couriers were relied on to carry supplies.

Richard now lives in Kent but had heard from family still in the area that the local ‘blood bike’ needed upgrading and more volunteers would be appreciated.

“They desperately needed a new motorbike and funds so I thought it would be a nice thing to do. Donate the money to buy a new motorbike and run it, as well as insurance.

“They had a really old, knackered one, it was an ex-police bike but it was unreliable. They have been doing their own fundraising but I wanted to set them up really, to give a good foundation.”

Phil Harries, who runs the Hywel Dda South Blood Bike coverage, which includes Pembrokeshire to Carmarthen, said the new bike would make a big difference.

“This will be our main bike, for us it’s brilliant. We’re always out doing fundraising to keep everything afloat and everybody’s a volunteer – riders, coordinators, fundraisers,” he added.

The new bike is named Sarah, after a hardworking fundraiser from Dinas Cross, Sarah Watson, who sadly died earlier this year.

Sarah’s husband Andrew is a Blood Bike member and of the tribute to his wife said online: “I thank all members of Blood Bikes for naming the new Blood Bike after my much missed wife, Sarah Watson.”

Phil added: “Sarah was with us when Blood Bikes was put together, around two years ago. We went live on March 1 this year.”

The charity has around 15 riders but is always looking for new volunteers. Find out more at or email Phil at

This entry was posted in A Personal View, Rationing, Stories in the Media on by .

About Roger Burns - retired GP

I am a retired GP and medical educator. I have supported patient participation throughout my career, and my practice, St Thomas; Surgery, has had a longstanding and active Patient Participation Group (PPG). I support the idea of Community Health Councils, although I feel they should be funded at arms length from government. I have taught GP trainees for 30 years, and been a Programme Director for GP training in Pembrokeshire 20 years. I served on the Pembrokeshire LHG and LHB for a total of 10 years. I completed an MBA in 1996, and I along with most others, never had an exit interview from any job in the NHS! I completed an MBA in 1996, and was a runner up for the Adam Smith prize for economy and efficiency in government in that year. This was owing to a suggestion (St Thomas' Mutual) that practices had incentives for saving by being allowed to buy rationed out services in the following year.

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