Blood Bike West will be launched on Monday next in the Huntsman Inn watched on by TV star and long distance motorcyclist Charley Boorman, and acclaimed motorbike stunt rider Mattie Griffin who will entertain onlookers with a brace of astounding tricks that he has performed for audiences at his world renowned shows.
Blood Bike West is an organisation which arranges the transportation of blood, distribution of blood products and x-ray machines, equipment provisions, and the detailed preparation of patients’ notes in a way that responds to matters of urgency. “Currently we have 12 bikers, five are in training, and two are waiting to start. It’s a great way to promote bike safety and I’ve even found myself that my bike handling has improved,” says Mike Carthy from Blood Bike West.
Travelling on motorbikes allows for a swift, and safe distribution of the products in order to respond to the urgency with which they are needed. Mike Carthy emphasises the cost effectiveness in the service that Blood Bike West provides. “The benefit of our service is two fold. The first is cost. For example, there were two MRI scans that UHG needed to transport to Beaumount and that would have cost the hospital around €300 in taxifare. We offer our service free of charge. And we’re faster as well because the motorbikes can cut through traffic and it’s efficient.”
In order to volunteer for Blood Bike West, there are a number of criteria you must correspond to. You must be a minimum of 30 years of age, hold an advanced motorcycle riding licence that has no points assigned, acquire Garda vetting, and be in a flexible position that permits you to commit to a minimum of two nights on call per rota. It is also a requirement that you undertake a training course in RoSPA, which must be regularly reviewed. Once you are appointed as a blood biker, you will receive an official identity card which you must wear constantly when on duty.
There are also vacant positions to be a co-ordinator, or a fund raiser. Mike Carthy highlights the responsibility you inherit when becoming a co-ordinator. “That’s where it starts. The hospital calls the co-ordinator who then dispatches the bike. They will monitor the course of the journey and keep the hospital informed.” In order to be considered for selection in either of these areas, you must conduct your work with common sense, be enthusiastic, have a good telephone manner, and be willing to commit to the service (three - four nights a week on call per rota for co-ordinators ).