Service by Emergency Rider Volunteers, or SERV, is a Blood Bikes charity based in England, whose volunteers provide a motorcycle courier service, free of charge to the National Health Service. SERV was established in 1981.
The service is run by emergency response volunteers between 7.00 pm and 6.00 am each day.
We were delighted to welcome Don Ingram, a former Rotarian, now a member of Probus, who was a volunteer for SERV. Don spoke from the heart and gave us a first-hand account of his time in the service. Here is an extract from their website -
‘SERV Sussex is a UK registered charity that provides night time transportation of blood, blood products and other urgent medical items for NHS Hospitals across Sussex. The service is provided free of charge to the NHS between the hours of 7pm and 6am, 365 days of the year via a committed team of volunteer riders and drivers often using their own vehicles.
The NHS Blood and Transplant teams collect blood from donors in England and North Wales and, after processing and testing, supplies the components (red cells, platelets and frozen products) to hospitals in these areas. They supply blood components on a not-for-profit basis by setting prices that recovers their costs only (http://www.blood.co.uk/index.aspx). You can see what they are up to by following the NHSBT on their facebook page.
It may come as a surprise that the NHS has no formal and FREE way of moving urgent blood, samples and patient notes overnight. Without SERV, local hospitals would have to use ambulances or pay taxis to transport these urgently needed items. By providing a free transport service, SERV enables hospitals to focus their resources on patient care and eliminate costly transport bills.
The service is run primarily utilising the volunteer's own vehicle, however, SERV also has a fleet of marked bikes and cars that are funded by charitable donations from the public, businesses and charitable trusts. Devitt Insurance Services (www.devittinsurance.com) have provided a special rate of fleet insurance for SERV motorcycles not only in Sussex but across a number of other counties for a number of years. Their support is much appreciated and provides a major cost saving to the charity.
SERV Sussex is keen to welcome committed volunteers to be riders, drivers, controllers, administrators and fundraisers.
Don retired last year, he recalled that his first job had been to collect and deliver blood to save the life of a baby – need I say more. SERV currently have ring fenced funds from Rotary to purchase a new bike in memory of his late wife once the full amount is raised.
A worthwhile cause and a very interesting evening hearing more about them.
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