At the annual NSS Excellence Awards, the “Team of the Year” award was presented to the Scottish National Blood Transfusion Service (SNBTS) transport team who went above and beyond the call of duty to ensure that the needs of patients in Scotland were met during the worst storm of the year.
Doing whatever it takes
In February 2018 when the “Beast from the East” storm flagged a red travel warning and brought Central Scotland to a standstill, the SNBTS transport team faced a number of challenges:
- How can we transport staff and equipment to blood donating sessions across the country?
- What can we do to make sure blood products get processed and transferred on time from our headquarters to all hospital blood banks?
- How will we deliver emergency blue light services for blood and tissues between SNBTS sites and hospitals?
I appreciate that all NHS departments faced challenges across central Scotland when the storm hit but the SNBTS transport team went over and above any possible expectations. They worked around the clock to ensure not only that blood was collected and delivered to hospitals on time but that collection, processing and security staff were able to get to their work to ensure patients were unaffected.
During the three critical days of the storm when Glasgow and Edinburgh came to a standstill, the transport team remained fully flexible to meet workload demands. Despite the severity of the storm every member of the transport made it into work, with some having their commute extended by several hours, but in face of this they were resolute.
Taking on additional responsibility
Not only did the transport team transport maintain service with no failed deliveries of blood, the team also went out of their way to transport lab and essential office staff in and out of SNBTS’s headquarters, the Jack Copland Centre, ensuring their colleagues made it safely to work and also staff already on site were then dropped off home safely.
The transport team also took it upon themselves to get Glasgow Donor Centre open. When the building’s security key holder was unable to make it to work in the storm, the transport team collected them from their home in order to allow us to open the building and hold a blood collection session for the members of the public who were able to give blood in the city centre.
SNBTS’s transport team also managed to maintain full emergency blue light cover through the period and in fact managed to respond to two separate blue light transport requirements to collect specialised blood products from Manchester at the peak of the storm.
This was a great team effort across the whole of SNBTS with everyone going the extra mile to continue to deliver vital services across Scotland. The transport team truly went above and beyond and the commitment and dedication shown to the patients of Scotland as well as their colleagues is inspiring. I’d like to extend my thanks in particular to:
- Keith Gunda who used his own car to bring colleagues on his shift and the next one, to and from work.
- Jake Glenny, Derek Pye and Kash Iqbal who volunteered to provide additional blue light cover on each of the two main SNBTS distribution sites. They also collected patients and ferried staff to and from work, using the available 4x4 transport to its best effect.
- Kevin Winn also got himself up for work at 3am to make sure he was in for his shift at 6am.
When the situation called for it – the transport team stepped up to support the service without hesitation. Staff working extended hours, stayed in hotels and remained fully flexible to put the needs of the patients first.
I believe they truly deserve recognition for going well above and beyond and the commitment, care and dedication they showed to their colleagues and to the patients of Scotland. Congratulations on your “Team of the Year” award, it was a well-deserved win for a fantastic team.