Dorset’s district nurses get on their bikes

16th August 2021

Eco-friendly district nurses have turned back the clock when visiting patients in communities around Dorset.

Dorset HealthCare’s mobile nursing teams are switching from cars to electric bikes to help the environment, bypass traffic jams and promote healthy living.

The idea was pioneered in Purbeck, and expanded to other areas such as Dorchester and Bournemouth after bosses at the NHS Trust provided £2,000 to encourage more nurses to get on their e-bikes.

And the bikes have more than paid their way – with average car mileage costs for just one full time member of staff in the Swanage area topping £600 a year, for example, moving to pedal power is helping to deliver major transport savings.

Now, with traffic again filling our roads as we come out of lockdown, more nurses are enquiring about the electric bike option.

Hattie Taylor, Lead District Nurse for Purbeck, made the bid for the funding in the Trust’s ‘Dragons’ Den’ staff innovation competition after seeing the difference e-bikes made to her team.

“We had the idea after a trip to Gouda in Holland, where healthcare staff use bicycles to get to appointments all the time,” she explained.

“Purbeck isn’t quite as flat as Holland, so we found electric bikes worked better, especially when you’re trying to go uphill.

“Even so, they are a much better alternative to cars. You can get through traffic more easily, and don’t have to worry about finding a parking space when you get to an appointment.

“They save on travel costs and help to reduce pollution. Cycling also gives us a bit of clear headspace between visits, and we feel like we are setting a good example around staying fit, active and healthy.

“Our patients love it when we turn up with our helmets on. It’s an amazing feeling getting around the community on two wheels, it’s like district nurses use to do in the old days, and I was keen for other teams to have that choice.”

Watch a short video about the use of e-bikes in Purbeck.

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