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New workshops to help life-saving blood bikers get there quicker

PUBLISHED: 10:54 16 January 2019

Blook Bike Groups, charities which deliver blood and other vital fluids for the NHS, met up in a special event organised by construction firm Graham with Highways England, to discuss working closer together.
Picture: DAVID HAWKINS

Blook Bike Groups, charities which deliver blood and other vital fluids for the NHS, met up in a special event organised by construction firm Graham with Highways England, to discuss working closer together. Picture: DAVID HAWKINS

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Highways and civil engineering contractor Graham has been working with Highways England, Blood Bike groups and contractors in a pioneering initiative to help Blood Bike riders reach their destinations safely during road closures in the East of England.

Blood Bike Groups are rapid response charities that provide medical transportation services to the National Health Service.

They are represented by the Nationwide Association of Blood Bikes (NABB), an umbrella organisation for over 25 individual blood bike charities which cover most of the UK.

Despite playing a crucial role in the transportation and delivery of blood, plasma and breast milk to the NHS, the Blood Bike groups as registered charities had not been receiving the direct communications sent out to emergency services during road closures and diversions.

As part of a major highways improvement scheme underway in the East of England, Graham’s site team organised a workshop and invited Blood Bike groups serving Norfolk, Suffolk, Lincolnshire, Cambridgeshire and Northamptonshire to attend alongside representatives from Highways England and traffic management contractors.

The scheme involved organisations in the East of England Highways scheme to develop a strategy that enables the blood bikes to be identified and escorted through work sites when required. The team also established a communications roll-out so that the groups are informed of any upcoming closures or diversions.

Afterwards a memorandum of understanding was developed and agreed.

Graham’s community spokesman Jonathan Wright said: “Following conversations with the Blood Bike Groups that serve the Eastern region, we were informed that they were not always made aware of the diversions and closures in place during our works on the highways.

“We also learnt that the role of these life-saving volunteers was not always clear to some of the contractors working with us. To address this, we held a workshop with Highways England, our traffic management contractors and site staff to educate our stakeholders and discuss how we can help these groups provide their vital services for the emergency services.

“At Graham we strive to make positive contributions to the communities we work within and engage these communities effectively through proactive communication. We’re proud to support the fantastic work of these volunteers who provide an amazing service to the NHS and look forward to working with them during future schemes.”

More meetings are planned as well as rolling the initiative out nationally.

Jon Doran fleet manager of Norfolk Blood Bikes, said “We are proud to be associated with GRAHAM and deeply value their understanding of the blood bike world, especially the difficulties we face in the more rural areas of the Eastern region where diversions can often mean the difference between meeting deadlines and patients receiving timely treatment or having to return and repeat the process because items reach their destination out of time.

“Graham’s fantastic ‘can do’ approach has proved invaluable and the initial MOU allowing Blood Bikes and cars through diversions is a ground-breaking move. The company should be applauded for taking ownership of this and we look forward to an exciting future and rollout nationwide.”

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