NHS Information OLD
Welcome to the NHS Stakeholder information page
Please scroll through using the arrows on either side of the page to find out more about these topics:
- Hours of Operation
- Items Carried
- Coverage Area
- Health & Safety
- Call Categories
Hours of operation
Our normal operating hours are:
From 19:00 to 07:00 week days (Monday to Thursday)
24 hours at weekends (19:00 Friday to 07:00 Monday)
24 hours per day for all bank holidays
We are happy to make deliveries to hospitals, clinics and residential nursing homes. Please see the next section for important information about delivery to private addresses.
Our bikes mainly operate in the following areas;
- North Bike: Hub hospitals are Southmead and Bristol Royal Infirmary with the bike covering areas around Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire
- East Bike: Hub hospital is Royal United Hospital (RUH) Bath with the bike covering areas around Bath & North East Somerset, West Wiltshire including Chippenham, Devizes, Trowbridge and Warminster.
- West Bike: Hub hospital is Musgrove Park Hospital Taunton with the bike covering areas around Taunton, Bridgwater, Burnham-on-Sea, Wells, Glastonbury, Minehead, Shepton Mallet and Wellington.
- Relief Bike: Used to complete urgent calls when all other bikes are busy or complex requests across the Freewheelers area of operation.
- Air Ambulance Bike: This fulfils our dedicated nightly delivery of blood products to both Wiltshire Air Ambulance and Great Western Air Ambulance so that they have blood products available to them at any incidents they attend.
Deliveries within Freewheelers normal area of coverage, whether exclusively in one area or between different areas e.g. Taunton to Bristol will be made FREE of charge, even if the route involves several riders e.g. West bike and North bike.
Longer trips outside our area are arranged by handover to neighbouring blood bike groups such as SERV OBN, Cornwall blood bikes, South West Blood Bikes, SERV OBN, Yeovil Freewheelers, Severn Freewheelers or Blood bikes Wales. No matter where we deliver to, our volunteer riders and co-ordinators always give their time free of charge.
Deliveries to private addresses
We may make occasional deliveries of medical supplies to private addresses or nursing homes only if no other transport is available. We ask you to understand that we will only make such deliveries under the following conditions:
- We will not deliver non-medical or non-urgent items e.g. a patient’s personal possessions.
- We must be supplied with a telephone number, and a full address with post-code. Please ensure that somebody will be in to receive the package.
- On weekday evenings we will only accept jobs that we can deliver before 9pm. This is to ensure the arrival of a biker late at night does not cause significant concern or distress to the recipient. We will also call the patient to ensure there is someone expecting us to make a delivery and that there will be someone to receive (sign for) the delivery.
- We are very happy to make a delivery to a medical professional such as a midwife or community nurse attending a patient’s home. However, a telephone number must be given so that we can confirm times and directions.
- Deliveries are undertaken at the rider’s discretion. We reserve the right to refuse a delivery if there is any potential or perceived threat to the rider’s personal safety.
When a hospital or clinic calls Freewheelers EVS to request our help, the on-duty coordinator will log all details including a contact name, precise pickup and delivery locations, and contents. The coordinator will also discuss the urgency of the delivery and agree with the caller to assign one of three categories:
- Non Urgent: Deliveries that must be made before 7:00am the next morning. These deliveries will be completed but will take a lower priority if an urgent or emergency call is received.
- Urgent: Deliveries that must be made within an urgent timescale of 2-3 hours.
- Emergency: Deliveries that involve a risk to a patient’s life. These are the highest priority and are actioned without delay. We do not have exemptions to use blue lights or to break speedlimits, however a blood bike will always make the delivery as quickly and safely as possible. Please note: A senior medical member of staff will be asked by our coordinator to confirm the call is life threatening in order to divert the nearest rider.
If you wish to use our service please be sure you have all the details available. If anything changes while the rider is en-route to you then please let either the coordinator or rider know. We will be happy to change the category of a call if circumstances change e.g. a patient’s condition deteriorates and a delivery needs to be changed from Urgent to Emergency. Equally, if a delivery becomes unnecessary, please inform us and save us a wasted trip.
We are happy to deliver any of the following items:
- Urgently required PPE and Medical kit to NHS hospitals across our patch or by handover to our neighbouring blood bike groups for onward distribution.
- Blood for transfusion, platelets or other blood products which must be supplied to us in the appropriate insulated packaging. Our bikes are fitted with a rack so that we can take the largest insulated box with ease.
- Blood, urine or other tissue samples for analysis by pathology and microbiology laboratories, all of which are transported in accordance with regulation UN3373.
- X-Rays, scans and CDs
- Patient notes
- Frozen breast milk
- Any other medical items or small pieces of medical equipment such as syringes and cannulas.
Please bear in mind we use bikes equipped with panniers and an external rack, so don’t ask us to carry a large item like a wheelchair – people have asked!
All items must be signed for at pick up and delivery. During COVID-19 we will ask for the relevant name and record on our paperwork. We have arrangements with most of the major hospitals to use facilities such as switchboard, porters lodge or Accident & Emergency if a particular department will be closed when we arrive.
The charity currently runs five duty bikes in day-to-day service. We use liveried blood bikes to make deliveries safely and quickly as they enable riders to make safe progress through congested traffic more effectivly than alternatives. During COVID-19 we also have additional riders available using their own bikes or cars to help with transportation of larger quantities of PPE and medical kit.
Health & safety
Freewheelers EVS takes the topic of health and safety very seriously and has equipped each bike with UN3373 compliant transport bags to hold any biological items, such as blood or tissue samples, that might pose an infection hazard to the rider, or anyone who might come into contact with them.
All deliveries are closely tracked. Riders must notify the on-duty coordinator when a delivery is completed and also when they reach home. Riders must also notify the coordinator if anything changes with the delivery e.g. at the time of pickup the rider is requested to upgrade the call from Urgent to Emergency. Riders and co-ordinators are also made aware of procedures to be followed in the case of spillage of any biological substance carried on the bikes.
As well as all of our riders having achieved a recognised national qualification in advanced motorcycling, all riders are periodically assessed to ensure that this standard is maintained and are encouraged to seek further training as appropriate. There are strong links with local advanced training organisations, including IAM RoadSmart (IAM) and the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) groups. Several Freewheelers members are Local or National observer level, and others have independently recognised advanced instructor qualifications.
Freewheelers EVS has full public and employer’s liability insurance cover. We are also happy to cooperate should you wish to complete a risk assessment prior to using our service. Please note that our service may be withdrawn in extreme weather conditions as ice, snow and fog are not safe for motorcyclists. We ask for your understanding on the rare occasions that this happens.