The West is set to benefit from Ireland’s first ‘blood bikes’ emergency medical transportation service after an insurance firm provided its own vital lifeline.
The volunteer run Blood Bike West service, which is primarily sponsored by home care provider Bluebird Care, will be officially launched in Galway on October 8th. Its ten strong team of riders and crew will primarily serve hospitals in the Health Service Executive’s Western Region, speedily delivering urgently needed blood, blood products, patient records, drugs and other medical requirements.
But the project nearly stalled when the service couldn’t get insurance cover to protect its volunteer riders and specially liveried Honda motorcycle Pan European ST1100, an ex-Metropolitan Police bike supplied by Bluebird Care. Thankfully chairman and founder Mike Carty was able to get it back on track by securing support from Carole Nash, one of Ireland’s biggest motorcycle insurance specialist: “Having the bike was a huge boost to our cause. With Bluebird Care coming on board it brought us forward six months. Then we were really struggling to get insurance but when Carole Nash heard about our plight they immediately rode to our rescue and became our official Insurance Partner,” he explains. “They’ve been a lifesaver because without insurance we simply could not operate what we believe will be a vital emergency transportation service, one which will help protect many, many lives.”
Carole Nash’s head of marketing, Rebecca Donohue, said the firm was delighted to be able to help. “When we heard of Blood Bike West’s insurance troubles we didn’t hesitate to offer our support because we know just how invaluable their service will be to medics and the patients they treat. Swift delivery of blood and other vital supplies can make the difference between life and death. Ours is a small contribution compared to the time and effort being committed by Mike and his fellow volunteers to protect lives and relieve sickness in the West.”
Bluebird Care Galway Director Sean Lyons says, “when approached by Blood Bikes to support this innovative project, we immediately jumped on board. In fact we believe this service has the potential to grow further and we look forward to working with the team here in the West.”
The founding of Blood Bike West follows the success of similar operations in the UK where motorcycle enthusiasts have created a network of regional blood bike services. Like those operation Blood Bikes West is dependent not just upon the goodwill of its volunteers but financial donation from the public and businesses. “Donations are our life blood,” says Mr. Carty adding that contributions can be made via the organisation’s website at www.bloodbikewest.ie.
Volunteers, medics and a celebrity biker Charley Boorman will officially launch the service at Huntsman Inn, Galway, on October 8th from 3.00pm.