member's area

how we work


it's all about teamwork

With a county as large as Norfolk and the 3 primary Hospitals spread across it, it's not feasible for all members to be able to service all the locations efficiently.  Therefore dependent upon where the member lives they are placed within one of 5 Operational Groups:

NBB 5 groups Map
  • West Norfolk serving the Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH) in Kings Lynn.  In addition this team will also service Chatterton House
  • Central Norfolk serving the Norfolk & Norwich University Hospital (NNUH).  This team will also provide coverage for Hellesdon and Julien Hospitals.
  • East Norfolk serving the James Paget University Hospital (JUPH).  This team will also regularly support Northgate Hospital and Carlton Court.
  • South Norfolk/Thetford area.  This is known as the RV Group.  Most of the members in this group live too far away from the Primary Hospitals to service them directly.  However, they serve an essential purpose by ferrying Blood and Blood Products from Addenbrookes Hospital to prearranged RV points.  These are primarily at Thetford or Scole.  They will then pass on the product to a Volunteer from the other team for onward transfer to the requesting Hospital.  By utilising the RV Rider/Driver the time to get product from Addenbrookes to the Hospital in need can be almost halved.
  • Last, but not least, is the dedicated team that support the specific needs of the East Anglian Air Ambulance.  They will transport blood from the NNUH to Norwich Airport and collect any unused product for return to the Hospital.  Due to its proximity to the Hospital members of this team will often also take duties within the Central Norfolk group as well.  Although those duties are rota'd separately to ensure availability.

It is easy to focus upon the rider and drivers.  However, without a team of trained Controllers ready to receive the calls and task the Volunteers, none of the jobs would get done.  Controllers are based at home, so their location is less important than those that need to close enough to respond quickly.  Their location may be less important, but their contribution is far from it.  

All Riders, Drivers and Controllers are asked to submit a monthly 'Availability Return'.  From this data a Monthly Rota is issued to ensure that there are 5 drivers/riders and 1 controller for every shift (nights, weekends and Bank Holidays).

There are, normally 2 Motorcycles and one car allocated to each team.

Before the shift
Although the shift officially starts at 7pm (9am days) our volunteers still have several jobs to do before that times comes.

The first job our Riders and Drivers have to do is ensure that they collect the vehicle from whoever used it last.

Sometimes this could be from the previous night's volunteer and other times it could be from someone who has used it for a DBM run or a Fund Raiser.  Either way it often involves the support of a partner to drive you somewhere so that you can ride, or drive, back.

In some cases this could be a 30-45 minute drive each way.  The support of family and freinds is an essential, and often forgotten, part of being a volunteer for NBB.

Once they have the vehicle there are number of safety checks to carry out to ensure it is ready for the shift.

In the 30 minutes leading up to the beginning of the shift, the Controller will divert the 'On Call" phone number to their house phone.  

Once this is done they will check the weather and traffic conditions, across the county, and then call each Volunteer in turn.

They will check readiness, mileage of the vehicle and place the Volunteer on call.

During the shift

It is rare that a whole shift goes by without a single call.  However, this does occur and so it is deemed perfectly acceptable for all Volunteers to go to bed normally.  However, once a Rider/Driver has been mobilised the Controller remains available as they act as a safety contact should anything occur on the road in addition and will call the Hospital to provide updates.  If there is any delay in service the Rider/Driver will update the Controller who will then inform the hospital.

The Controller has the capability to track each vehicle, throughout the shift, in real time.

Controller receives call from Hospital via dedicated 0845 number.
Controller Calls relevant Rider/Driver
Controller Calls RV Rider/Driver if required
Rider/Driver reports ETA for collection/RV
RV Rider/Driver reports ETA for collection
RV Rider/Driver reports safe collection and ETA for RV
RV Rider/Driver reports safe arrival at RV
Rider/Driver reports safe collection and ETA for delivery
RV Rider/Driver reports ETA for home
Rider/Driver reports safe delivery and ETA for home
RV Rider/Driver refuels vehicle
Rider/Driver refuels vehicle
RV Rider/Driver reports safe arrival at home and ready for next task
Rider/Driver reports safe arrival at home and ready for next task
Controller completes logs and awaits further calls from Hospitals.
After the shift
Firstly we have to accept that the shift doesn't always finish on time.  Quite often a Rider/Driver will be on the road when 7am (5pm day) comes around.

Where this might present a problem e.g. being late for work or an appointment, the Controller will take steps to ensure that the Volunteer's needs are met and the tasks are completed.

Many Riders/Drivers make themselves available for an 'Ad-Hoc' call and will step in, at the last minute, if possible.   

This may happen if the 'on shift' Volunteer is unable to complete a task, due to time constraints, or if they have been tasked to an out of area, or longer job and extra cover is needed to 'backfill' any gaps.

Immediately after the shift has finished the Controller will update and submit the logs to enable accurate record keeping.

They will also divert the on call number to the relevant day time contact point.

Once the shifts over the Rider/Driver will refuel the vehicle ready for hand over.  

Often this is done during the shift, however sometimes it is not practical due to the rural nature of Norfolk and the distance to an open Fuel Station in the early hours of the morning.

They will complete the logs regarding mileage and refuelling and give the vehicle a check and, if necessary clean it ready to be collected or for the next shift.

All vehicles must be maintained in a 'ready' state and must be available at short notice.  
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