19th Aug, 2019

Nearly 24,000 sign petition against hospital's blood bikes charity contract snub

Felix Nobes 16th Apr, 2019 Updated: 16th Apr, 2019

NEARLY 24,000 people have signed a petition against hospital bosses’ decision to snub a charity which delivers blood products during contract discussions.

As we have reported, Warwickshire and Solihull Bloodbikes (WSBB) wants to know why it was excluded from the tendering process for the contract to deliver products for Coventry and Warwickshire Pathology Service.

The service is based at University Hospital Coventry and Warwickshire (UHCW) and supplies blood samples and medical items to four local hospitals, nine clinical commissioning groups and some 250 GP practices.

The Change.org petition – with 23,658 signatures – claims a deal with a private firm worth £14million was sealed behind closed doors without the charity being informed.

Anwen Williams, who started the petition, wrote: “We would like to be consulted for discussion with regards to why this decision to outsource the service was made.

“Blood bikes Britain in 2017 had 3,372 volunteers, 31 member groups and did 73,617 runs.

“I started this petition because I care about the NHS and keeping it free for all, this is yet another step towards privatisation.”

If the petition gets 100,000 signatures, it will be considered for debate in Parliament.

WSBB – which was founded in 2012 – offers out-of-hours motorbike delivery of blood products and in that time has made 7,000 calls for pathology, which they say has saved the NHS some £700,000.

Volunteers say they have been left ‘shocked’ at not being consulted before a decision was made to award the contract to QE Facilities – a subsidiary company of Gateshead Health NHS Foundation Trust, based in the north east.

But UHCW – where the service is based – says while the Bloodbikes made an ‘invaluable contribution’, they delivered less than one per cent of the 10million blood products handled by the pathology service last year.

Charity chairman Mark Lavery told the Observer while WSBB could not have taken on the whole contract, the charity could have continued offering the same level of service it was, and saved the NHS money doing so.

The charity said it is now faced with closure but would try to continue its work supporting other Bloodbike groups and the Air Ambulance.

And it is calling for an investigation to determine why it was excluded from the tendering process.

But UHCW says it previously used a range of delivery suppliers and an increase in demand meant it needed to ‘standardise’ the system.

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