We are busier than ever with our voluntary service here in Derbyshire, not least because we’re supporting the additional needs of our local NHS during this current health emergency.
Also, the welfare of our volunteers, patients, staff and the public is important and the rapidly changing advice presents a number of challenges and is having a real impact on individual volunteers and our charity.
We have cancelled all our fundraising engagements for the next three months. A number of our supporters have also cancelled events, including a sponsored cycle ride and a theatre performance. We have also cancelled any non-essential parts of our service during this period. This means our fundraising income has gone or has been deferred for several months at a time when our operating costs are increasing.
We also face pressures as some of our volunteers are in the ‘vulnerable’ groups and cannot now help at this time. Sadly, because of the restrictions placed on us all, training new volunteers has been suspended until such time as we can be sure that this can be done safely. Other volunteers are stepping up their contributions so we will have a full team working 24 hours every day.
As we deliver our service, we are taking practical steps to adhere to current advice and agreed best practice;
- If any of our volunteers have any symptoms, no matter how mild, they have been asked to stand down and self-isolate
- Our volunteers will take every opportunity to ensure hygiene standards are met by regular hand washing and the use of hand sanitisers
- Our volunteers will attempt, wherever possible, to maintain social distance. This will include spending as little time as possible within our hospitals
- When collecting or delivering to wards, any handovers will take place at the doors to the ward and not in clinical areas
- When delivering medication to a patient at home, they are, by definition, vulnerable in health terms. We will treat all as though they are in self-isolation, and after identity verification, make the delivery on the doorstep, keeping at least 3 meters distance from the patient. We will not ask for a signature on our documents
- When collecting donated milk, similarly, we will pre-arrange the ‘remote handover’ process, placing an opened transport bag on the doorstep. The donor will put the bottles of frozen milk into the bag and step away. The volunteer will then seal the bag. On arrival at a Milk Bank, we will comply with any handover process put in place by staff.
- All our journeys will be made in clearly liveried vehicles, operated by and registered to Derbyshire Blood Bikes. Our journeys are classed as ‘essential’ to the operation of NHS services
Should more stringent legal powers be taken by the Government, we hope that our service remains operable within the legislation and we can continue to support our medical services.
Finally, we have some financial contingency that means we can continue our operations during this initial 3-month period but we will closely monitor our operating costs relating to fuel and fleet maintenance. So, an appeal too!
We know that many individuals and businesses may also be finding the current situation difficult, but if there is anyone out there who can help Derbyshire Blood Bikes (or even your local blood bike charity because we know they will all be facing the same challenges), please do so.
If you can help Derbyshire Blood Bikes, please call our general enquiries line on 07470 903215 or Email: firstname.lastname@example.org