Hampshire and Isle of Wight Air Ambulance (HIOWAA) have grant funded the purchase of a dedicated blood bike for use by SERV-Wessex, whose volunteer blood bikers operate a regular transportation service from University Hospital Southampton to the HIOWAA airbase in Thruxton, changing the blood carried by the Air Ambulance every 48 hours. The dedicated blood bike, a Yamaha FJR 1300, is one of the first of its kind and is liveried in the distinctive green and yellow branding of Hampshire and Isle of Wight Air Ambulance and carries the Charity logo. HIOWAA CEO Alex Lochrane commented ‘This grant has cemented our relationship with the fabulous blood bikers who give their time to provide an indispensable service’.
Using sophisticated temperature controlled packaging, which keeps the blood safe to use, volunteer blood bikers carry one fresh box of two units of blood to the HIOWAA Critical Care team in Thruxton three times a week. Any blood that is not used within 48 hours during emergency missions is then transported back to University Hospital Southampton for use in theatres. The journey from University Hospital Southampton to the HIOWAA Airbase in Thruxton is a round trip of approximately 80 miles.
Tim Bennett from SERV Wessex commented ‘Our volunteer riders are proud to be associated with HIOWAA and to be able to play their part in helping to bring the hospital to the patient. SERV Wessex is a charitable organisation and, like HIOWAA, relies upon charitable donations’.
HIOWAA began carrying blood on board all flights in April 2014. Using technology first utilised by the British military in Afghanistan, the Charity is able to store blood on board the Air Ambulance at precisely the required temperature. The blood carried is type O negative blood, known as the ‘universal donor,’ as it is safe to give to any patient. Hampshire and Isle of Wight Air Ambulance flies seven days a week and attends an average of two to three missions a day, many of them life saving. The charity receives no government, statutory or national lottery funding for routine operations, and is entirely dependent on donations received from members of the public, companies and grant-making bodies to keep the Air Ambulance flying and saving lives.