Across the UK, a group of volunteer motorcyclists is helping the NHS by delivering blood. What motivates them, asks Simon Fry.
Isabel Kydd is on call for 80 hours of one week each month.
At very little notice, she can be woken in the night and find herself riding a motorbike with a vital delivery for a hospital.
But she’s not an NHS employee. She’s just a volunteer, one of 1,400 advanced qualified riders of the Nationwide Association of Blood Bikers (NABB).
In 2013, the association’s bikers responded to around 35,000 rapid transport requests from 262 UK hospitals. They are almost a Deliveroo for the NHS.
It’s not just blood, with the bikers also delivering surgical tools, human milk, spinal fluid, faecal matter (for faecal transplants) and even rabies serum conveyed via panniers on their powerful motorbikes.
According to NHS Blood and Transplant, volunteers delivered 1.32% of all the units of blood moved …
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