A SERVICE which allows blood and tissue samples to be transferred quickly between hospitals has officially been launched in Powys.

Blood Bikes Wales says Powys is the last county in Wales to be covered by volunteer motorbike riders.

Following months of recruitment and training, a new service was launched at its Powys base in Llandrindod Wells on Sunday, September 1, which will cover from Welshpool to Hay-on-Wye.

The charity is the largest of its kind in Britain and covers 105 hospitals across eight health boards. There are more than 400 members across Wales and around 120 volunteer on a regular basis.

"If it fits on a bike and it doesn't breath, we'll carry it," vice chairman Tyron Stevenson said.

"Samples are the biggest things that we deliver, then whole blood, frozen breast milk, medical notes, specialist equipment. We have even been asked to deliver midwives in some special cases.

"People think we work for the NHS but we don't; we're all volunteers. All our money comes from collections. We cover the majority of Wales but the only bit that we didn't cover was the middle bit of Powys that goes across to Hereford."

"We need anybody who wants to make a difference. It's so fulfilling I can't even begin to tell you. Once you experience that you can never walk away. Whether you ride a bike or not, we'll find you a job to do. Even if it's putting posters up for us or shaking a bucket outside Tesco, anything.

"People say that the NHS is one of the most vital services we've got in the country but it's massively underfunded. The money hospitals save from taxi services and delivery companies can go towards funding services when we do it for free. It's giving a vital service to a vital service.

"Everyone is willing to give us a pound, give us an hour instead."

He added: "We had a job not so long ago where they had specialist equipment in north Wales that was needed at the University Hospital of Wales in Cardiff. It was specialist equipment to do a test on a baby, and there's only one in the country. It costs so much that the NHS only have one.

"A delivery company said it would cost them £750 to deliver within three days because of the level of insurance. We collected it, relayed it down, did the test on the baby, and it was back in north Wales to do a test on another baby within 22 hours for free. It's a vital service."

The group meet for a monthly meeting on the third Tuesday of every month at
Llandrindod Wells Fire Station. If you’re a biker, keen to help with another role or donate to this vital charity, Blood Bikes Wales on 0300 303 3352 or email llandod@bloodbikes.wales.