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Dublin: 5 °C Monday 16 December, 2019
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Bikers give up free time to help cut HSE’s €28m taxi bill

Blood Bike East includes around 70 motorcyclists who will transport blood and other medical products to hospitals in the Leinster region free of charge.

Image: Blood Bike East via Facebook

A GROUP OF around 70 motorcyclists have joined forces and set up the volunteer group, Blood Bike East, that aims to help hospital patients and cut the HSE’s massive taxi bill.

Instead of paying taxis to transport blood, breast milk, x-rays, tests etc. during out of hours times, the volunteers will drive between hospitals and blood clinics in the Leinster area free of charge.

In 2011, the HSE spent an average of €28 million on taxis, which included transporting staff and patients but BBE volunteers believes that amount could be reduced greatly.

BBE founder and chairman, Pat McCabe, said it was “disappointing” that the HSE could not calculate how much money was spent on transporting medical products but said the bikers would keep a record of all journeys so they could make an estimate.

Even if we saved 1 per cent of the bill that’s €280,000 and that would be a huge difference. How many wards could we help keep open? How many jobs could we help save?

McCabe said he got the idea for the volunteer group last September and after asking biking forums for input, he has been inundated by responses ever since.

Today alone I signed on three more volunteers, but it’s not just bikers that want to help. People have been getting in touch about helping to fundraise, making corporate donations and giving us gear. It’s heartwarming to see so much charity still left in our country.

Following a large donation, BBE was able to purchase three bikes and kit them out complete with reflector gear and blood porters. The group will organise fundraisers to pay for fuel costs.

“No volunteers get any kind of financial recompense. All donations go towards the running of the service,” says McCabe.

If medical products need to be transported to a different region, McCabe hopes they will soon be able to start meeting up with other ‘Blood Bikers’ around the country. A service in the west is already in place.

Instead of dealing with the HSE, which McCabe likened “to pushing a big rock up a hill” they contacted the hospitals directly, who McCabe says all fully support the cause.

The volunteers will work from 7pm to 7am Monday to Friday and from 7pm Friday to 7am Monday.

The Blood Bike East group will be launched next Tuesday in the Mansion House by the Lord Mayor of Dublin, Naoise Ó Muirí, and they will take to the roads on 5 April.

Read: Blood Bikers zoom in to help patients in the West >

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About the author:

Amy Croffey

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