A GROUP of volunteers who deliver vital supplies like blood to hospitals have been recognised for their efforts.

SERV Wessex, The Blood Runners, who operate in south Wiltshire, Hampshire and east Dorset, has been honoured with the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service.

They were nominated by the Pharmacy Departments of Basingstoke and North Hampshire Hospital and Queen Alexandra Hospital Portsmouth.

SERV Wessex provides an out-of-hours rapid response service to NHS hospitals, including Salisbury District Hospital, delivering blood, blood products, samples, medication, medical equipment and human donor milk during the times when other transport options to the NHS may be limited, including every night, weekends, and public holidays.

They also re-supply the blood and plasma carried on the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Air Ambulance and critical care cars.

Since April 2020 SERV Wessex has been providing a full 24 hours service supporting hospital in-house pharmacies, delivering medication to shielding and vulnerable patients in the community and supporting pathology departments with urgent sample transportation, including Salisbury District Hospital.

This gave the NHS access to their committed and highly trained volunteers 24 hours a day, 7 days a week during the pandemic.

Since January 2020 their volunteers covered more than 266,000 miles on duty and completed more than 4,000 jobs, which included over 3,170 medication deliveries to the community.

The service is provided for free by volunteers.

Robert Smith, the chair of SERV Wessex, said: “We are very proud and humbled by this fabulous award, which is a testament to, and recognition of, the great work done by our volunteers in supporting the NHS hospitals and the community in all weathers and at all times of the day and night.”

The Queen’s award is the highest accolade a voluntary group in the UK can receive and is the MBE for volunteer groups. The charity will receive a certificate signed by HM The Queen and an engraved crystal later in the year by HM Lord-Lieutenant of Hampshire. SERV Wessex engraving on the crystal will give special recognition to its work during Covid-19.

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