"Frustrated" Yorkshire Blood Bike volunteers forced to desperately search for fuel to carry out vital deliveries
Yorkshire Blood Bike volunteers are being forced to desperately search for fuel to carry out vital deliveries before their 12 hour shifts, a spokesperson for the organisation told the YEP today.
The Whiteknights is a charity that delivers blood and samples out of hours for the NHS in Yorkshire.
Their service is free of charge and operates out of hours through the night, Monday to Thursday 7pm to 7am and Friday 7pm all the way through the weekend until 7am Monday morning.
A rider averages around 100 miles a night delivering across Yorkshire - with around a dozen Leeds based riders often travelling from the city to a new state of the art transplant centre in Barnsley during night shifts.
However, the current fuel crisis which has swept across Yorkshire has left riders to urgently search for fuel before their shift - with some left "frustrated" according to communications manager for the charity, Matthew Beynon-Tullett.
He said the organisation normally uses sponsored fuel thanks to a partnership with Terberg DTS UK - but the fuel must be Shell.
Due to a shortage across the region and closures at some stations, Matthew told the YEP that the charity has now been left to spend from their own funds in order to carry out the service - a cost not accounted for.
Now, Matthew has called on Leeds residents to "be mindful" of emergency responders and told them "don't panic buy" fuel in the county.
Matthew said: "Our riders often travel more than 100 miles across Yorkshire during their shifts.
"Our fuel is usually sponsored if we can get it from Shell.
"[Due to the fuel situation] we are now diversifying and using anything we can get hold of.
"As a charity, our mileage is extensive and across our eight motorcycles we can cover 80,000 miles a year.
"The service we provide is also vital to the hospice network, we transfer painkillers as well as medical records and other items.
"It is multifaceted.
"I have seen there is some frustration between our riders.
"We are going to have to use any petrol we can get hold of."
Riders usually work a 7pm to 7am shift out of hours during the night, Matthew explained.
In West Yorkshire, between 12 and 15 volunteers service the hospitals in the region.
On any one night, a single volunteer would cover West Yorkshire, South Yorkshire and North Yorkshire respectively.
Matthew said: "Volunteers are having to ride around just to find fuel.
"There are urgent call out time pressures on the volunteers and we often need to respond within one hour.
"Riders are now using their own time before shifts riding around to try and fill up."
If fuel stations started to ration fuel, it would benefit the Whiteknights riders, Matthew said.
He added: "I would just ask people to be mindful that we are volunteer emergency responders.
"It is having an impact.
"Please don't panic buy."
The Whiteknights estimate that for each £1 received in donations, the NHS will save at least £5.
Their website states: "Our volunteers provide the NHS and Hospices with an out of hours service which not only saves a substantial amount of money, but money that can be passed on to provide funding for more appropriate frontline patient care.
"Despite having full time jobs, many of our members consistently give their spare time to help run and maintain what is a truly worthwhile charity, and an organisation who are intent on making a difference to the Health Organisations throughout Yorkshire."
Army tanker drivers have been put on standby in preparation to deliver fuel in order to ease the chaos at petrol stations, the Government has announced in the face of mounting pressure.
Military drivers will get specialised training in preparation for their deployment while certain HGV licences will be extended to help tackle the issue, ministers announced on Monday.
The move comes after many filling stations ran dry after drivers made a dash for the pumps amid fears a shortage of tanker drivers would hit supplies.
Sir Keir Starmer has accused the Government of reducing the country to “chaos” through its failure to deal with the fuel crisis.
The Labour leader said the haulage industry was “beyond frustrated” at the lack of a clear plan by ministers to alleviate the problems.
He also called on Boris Johnson to give key workers priority access to fuel supplies to ensure they could still get to work as filling stations ran dry.
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