The founder of a Honiton-based charity has hit out at ‘absolute lies’. Daniel Lavery, chief executive of Devon Freewheelers, was moved to make a statement after claims were made that the blood bike service is no longer free to the NHS.
“We would like to reassure all of our supporters and our volunteers that this is absolute lies,” he said, pointing out untrue comments are ‘offensive to the pride and dedication of our volunteers’.
Mr Lavery’s statement said: “Devon Freewheelers volunteers pride themselves in the fact that what they do for their local communities is being done for free and at no cost to the hospital or the patient they are serving.
“It has further been commented upon that we are now receiving Government funding for the service we provide. We can categorically assure everyone that this is also an absolute lie. Devon Freewheelers do not nor have they ever received any Government funding.”
Mr Lavery added: “For the purposes of clarity to the members of the public who support us, we do receive a fuel cost recovery for some but not all of our non blood bike work carried out including from GP Surgeries (non NHS), and for the human organ transport work carried out on behalf of NHS Blood and Transplant which is their standard practice.
“These services are not to be confused with the blood bikes and their operations, which are and always will be free of charge and operated by our volunteers.
“As part of our natural development over the last 10 years, we have got to the point where employment of core staff has become absolutely necessary. This development is not funded nor are salaries paid from the public’s donations to the blood bike charity. This natural progression in our journey and ambition to support patients and the NHS within Devon and beyond, has afforded the charity to be able to extend its life saving services from out of hours to a full time 24 hours a day, seven days a week service.”
Mr Lavery points out that ‘no similar organisation could be expected to possibly achieve this level of service without employing core members of staff’.
The charity currently has four full-time and one part time positions, and says it expects to continue its development of services.
It says it is aware of the source of the ‘lies’ but will not put that information into the public domain.