A new service to be rolled out later this year is about to hit the roads of west Limerick.

Blood Bike Mid-West is a newly established charitable organisation that provides free transport to the HSE and hospices, clinics and other service users.

Blood Bike Mid-West acts as an Emergency Rider Voluntary Service which aims to relieve sickness and protect health by the provision of transport of urgently needed blood, blood products, patient records, drugs, breast milk for premature and ill babies and other medical requirements between hospitals, blood transfusion banks and the human milk bank, primarily but not exclusively in the mid west region. As this is an out of hours, voluntary service it helps to alleviate some of the financial implications that such work would impose on the HSE. That money can then be redirected into primary care.

Although the official launch of Blood Bike Mid- West will not happen for a number of weeks, the organisation received its first call-out recently to transport breast milk from Cavan to the Regional Maternity Hospital. Following this, Michael O’Donoghue, of Rambling School of Motoring, one of a number of volunteers with Blood Bike Mid West, introduced the bike to Newcastle West and Abbeyfeale over the Christmas period. This was met with great interest and support by local people.

In the coming months Blood Bike Mid-West hope to continue to increase awareness of their work in the mid-west region. In October they held a very successful ride out through the city and county and they are planning another one in the near future. As the charity is not in receipt of any government funding it relies solely on fundraising and the charitable donations of members of the public to help it continue its vital work and ensure it continues to grow and develop in providing its vital service in the mid-west region.

There has been widespread interest and support in the county during Christmas and it is looking promising for the growth and deve-lopment of Blood Bike Mid-West in 2014.