Why Support Freewheelers EVS / Blood Bikes?


Freewheelers EVS is a charity providing a free of charge out of hours emergency medical courier service to hospitals and NHS facilities in  Bristol, Bath, Taunton and the towns and villages in-between.  


Freewheelers has been running for 31years and was a founding member of the National Association of Blood Bikes. The service is provided entirely by volunteers with no paid positions, and the charity is funded entirely by donations

A fleet of liveried blood bikes with blue lights and sirens (for use in life critical jobs) are utilised to provide the service and are ridden by advance qualified motorcyclists. In 2020 over 7000 jobs were conducted and over 225,000miles covered. 

To provide this service this there are eight members on duty for each shift. Five riders, a coordinator, an incident manager and a bike maintenance officer. The service covers weeknights from 7pm-7am and provides 24hr cover on weekends from Friday at 7pm until Monday at 7am. We also provide 24hr cover on bank-holidays. NHS medical staff call our service number and the coordinator categories the urgency of the job then dispatches a bike.

Common items transported include whole blood, pathology samples, breast milk, medication and medical equipment.  This is transported between hospitals, GP surgeries, hospices, nursing homes etc. We also keep the Great Western Air Ambulance (GWAA) and the Wiltshire Air Ambulance (WAA) stocked with fresh O-neg blood every day, which has helped them significantly improve the outcomes of the patients they treat who have suffered traumatic injury. 

If Freewheelers EVS did not provide such a service then items would either be delayed until office hours transport resumed, would require a taxi with associated cost to the NHS or, if important enough, an ambulance may need to be pulled from frontline duty to be utilised to conduct the delivery. 

As with many charities Freewheelers EVS has been affected by the Covid pandemic. A significant form of revenue was from collections outside supermarkets and events such as village fetes etc. these obviously were all cancelled last year and are yet to restart. Yet the pandemic also put the NHS under increased strain. A significant number of Covid swab tests taken at community hospitals and nursing homes required transporting to a suitable pathology lab for testing. In summer 2020 the Freewheelers service went 24/7 for several months to cope with this increased demand. When comparing 2020 statistics to 2019 statistics, there was a 20-25% increase in workload, with 2021 continuing at the same pace.

The cost of providing this service is approximately £120,000 per annum, all of which is raised through the fundraising activities of our members. Over the years the Trustees of Freewheelers EVS have wisely set the charity on course for financial resilience for any unexpected challenges, enabling the continuation of this vital service through a pandemic. Yet the charity is running a significant deficit over the last fifteen months to keep up the support of the community and the NHS. Hence any and all donations have increased significance and would be warmly welcomed at this time.   

For more information about Freewheelers EVS go online.






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