On Friday 24th May, Cornwall Blood Bike volunteers were kindly invited to give a talk to West Cornwall Hospital (WCH) League of Friends AGM.
WCH League of Friends were keen to know more about our service in general but especially our operational part in assisting West Cornwall.
Our volunteers CBB Vice Chair Jayne Penlerick and on duty volunteer advanced rider Tim Cookman went along and were greeted by a very warm welcome.
We sat back and listened to the business of their AGM, and the very hard work that goes on behind the scenes with this group of volunteers as the league of friends.
The WCH League of Friends have been crucial in fighting for this incredible local hospital.
It is hard to believe that just over 10 years ago over 20,000 local people including Jayne as a local Cornish maid and family took to the streets of Penzance to march to stop the closure of this vital local hospital and the care that it provides.
Back In January 2018 our CBB Chair James Forder and Jayne approached the WCH hospital management team, as it was very noticeable that at 5 pm every night a taxi was couriering samples to RCHT, and we wondered in what way if any we could possible help them.
We started meetings in mid January, and met every few weeks for months.
I think it is safe to say they all met a few obstacles, but Paul (Hospital Manager) and Shirley (Clinical Lead Matron) were an absolute pleasure to work alongside and establish a fantastic working relationship with.
In July we became operational, and CBB riders would arrive at WCH at 17:45 Monday to Friday to collect pathology samples and courier to Clinical Chemistry at RCHT. These samples are already time jeopardised by the sheer geographical location of the hospital.
There were a few learning curves, but we have to say the biggest thank you to all those riders who in the early days showed patience whilst we settled into this routine role.
Now 10 months on it almost seems that CBB have always carried out this role, at 17:45 a blood bike arrives, picks up an insulated large box and delivers to Clinical Chemistry.
Very often we can be needed again later in the evening, and to assist in couriering up their twilight renal clinic samples.
Weekends we go over to normal tasking and have on many occasions been called for time critical samples during the night.
At Friday’s talk they all had the company of Paul and Shirley as they gave the update for WCH and its plans for the hospitals bright future which was encouraging to hear.
During Jayne’s heartfelt talk about our involvement with WCH to the league of friends she was interrupted by Paul to say he wanted to put things into perspective about how much we have helped them, and from the staff at WCH thank you can never be enough. He also praised how friendly and very kind the riders are.
In those 10 months since CBB have been providing our service to WCH we have saved that one single hospital over £70,000!!
This saving is going directly back into patient care, they have a new cardiac care room, they are investing in a new audiology department and have a state of the art Penlee Day Care Treatment centre.
Jayne quoted that she felt exceptionally proud to think what an honour and privilege that this charity has to able to assist this outstanding hospital in this way and that the dedicated individuals as Cornwall Blood Bike volunteer advanced riders have made that happen!