Medication delivery times to Oxford NHS sites have been halved by switching to e-cargo bikes. Local firm Pedal and Post have delivered more than 25,000 products from the Oxford site of medical supplier Baxter Healthcare since the first delivery was made at the start of August 2020 resulting in a huge improvement to delivery times to both John Radcliffe and Churchill hospitals.
Patient-specific chemotherapy, antibiotics, and intravenous nutrition products are made at Baxter's facility in Oxford, ready to be used within a short timeframe.
Previously, one van carried out several runs between hospital sites, but Pedal and Post now use three cyclists who make five or six runs daily, directly to the hospital.
The cyclists have e-cargo bikes and trailers which allow for medical products to be transported in temperature-controlled packaging to ensure integrity for the journey.
The time it takes for products to get from Baxter’s facility in Cowley to each hospital site has halved from 30 minutes to 15 minutes for the John Radcliffe Hospital and from 20 minutes to 10 minutes for the Churchill Hospital.
The change is also saving an estimated 10 tonnes of carbon emissions per year.
Managing Director at Pedal and Post, Chris Benton, commented: "This has been an exciting opportunity to showcase what cargo bikes are capable of and I'm extremely proud of the team at Pedal and Post with how successful the project has been.
"It demonstrates how moving to emission free courier services can actually improve patient care while also tackling the climate emergency, promoting active travel, improving local air quality, and congestion.
"The reception from patients and the wards to us in our blue cycling jerseys has been really positive, and we're hoping to expand on this success with the NHS Trust in the future."
Bhulesh Vadher, Chief Pharmacist at the Trust, said: "This is a fantastic example of collaboration and innovation between the Trust, Baxter, and Pedal and Post, helping to deliver a more efficient service and the best possible care for our patients.
"The transport of chemotherapy from Baxter to our hospital sites is no longer dependent on factors outside of the company's control, such as peak hour traffic, flow of traffic onto the hospital site and roadworks.
"That unpredictability was putting pressure on NHS staff to deliver chemotherapy treatments in a timely manner, and it was also impacting our patients' experience throughout treatment.
"The new bike courier service has taken away all the unnecessary extra pressure on NHS staff and has considerably reduced the delivery time. Using bikes instead of cars or vans is also better for the environment and the Oxfordshire community."
In the future, goods will also be delivered to the Horton General Hospital in Banbury by electric motorbike.
Professor Meghana Pandit, Chief Medical Officer at the Trust, said: "Being able to halve the time it takes to get medication to the John Radcliffe and Churchill hospitals is a very welcome achievement, and we are looking forward to improving delivery times to the Horton General Hospital in the future as we work towards a greener NHS.
"Having a more effective and time efficient delivery system in place helps us support our hardworking staff and deliver the best care possible to our patients."