Elected members were horrified to learn that NHS Dumfries and Galloway will not support an organisation that could potentially save them £72,000 a year - because it is a charity.
Dumfries and Galloway Blood Bikes are applying to Dumfries and Galloway Council’s Wigtown Area Committee for funds to help them support NHS establishments in Dumfries and Galloway by transporting samples between hospitals and medical centres. At present, outside normal office hours, the NHS relies on taxis or couriers to transfer medical supplies or test samples.
The charity turned to the WAC after the NHS knocked them back as they do not donate to charitable organisations. But their application for £2000 towards total project costs of £41,211 from the council’s community safety fund was also rejected by council officers because the application did not meet Community Safety Fund Partnership funding criteria.
The elected members agreed unanimously to go against the recommendation to refuse and asked that council officers get funding for the Blood Bikes group from another council source.
Councillor Alistair Geddes raged: “This is a classic case of spend to save. What is exercising me most is that this could save NHS Dumfries and Galloway £72,000. Why isn’t someone from NHS doing something about it?” Councillor Willie Scobie commented that the NHS reasons for not supporting the Blood Bikes was “pretty spurious” while Stranraer councillor Ian Dick suggested the funding should come from the newly integrated healthcare and social services budget. Councillor Jim McColm added: “There are considerable costs involved in taking blood from the Galloway Community Hospital to Dumfries by taxi.”
Councillor Jim McClung thought that the Blood Bikes application did meet the Community Safety Fund’s criteria as it was helping to “protect the vulnerable”.