The current Coronavirus outbreak has highlighted the importance of volunteer organisations, such as Blood Bikers. Here’s how one branch of this organisation is making a difference…
Emergency Voluntary Service, Devon Freewheelers have fast-tracked the ability for NHS workers to get back onto the frontline by collecting COVID-19 test samples from the homes of personnel in isolation and delivering them to Pathology labs where results can be provided within three hours.
Also known as the Devon Blood Bikers, the organisation traditionally relies on volunteer drivers and riders to deliver 24/7 services including urgent community response, organ transport for transplants, blood transfusion deliveries, ambulance for the NHS, and more. In light of the current global COVID-19 pandemic, numerous NHS staff have been quarantined in their homes upon themselves or a family member presenting symptoms.
CEO of Devon Freewheelers, Daniel Lavery explains, “Some NHS staff are not able to access tests themselves so they are having to isolate at home, we saw this as an opportunity to help and so we have taken on the responsibility of providing the testing for all of those staff and their families as well. Some of the highest priority members of the NHS team, for example ICU nurses, might be isolating at home because their child is ill and symptomatic of COVID-19. They can’t return to work. So we are going out into the community and doing a door step COVID-19 test, taking them straight to the Path lab as a priority and then they are processing the test within 3hrs. So by the end of the day the staff in question can be advised if they can go back to work.”
“This will allow a huge amount of staff to return to work because it can be confirmed that they haven’t actually got the virus. It also relieves the anxiety of the staff because it provides an answer,” commented Daniel, who’s team recently delivered twenty tests within a six hour period.
Devon Blood Bikers are hoping to extend the service to NHS workers in Devon as a whole, including social workers, mental health teams, etc. They are also seeking to support the Police force in the same way.
To find out more and support the Devon Freewheelers, visit www.devonfreewheelers.org.uk
PHOTOGRAPHY: David Wellbeloved Photography
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