The Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust is the main provider of acute hospital services for Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin, and mid Wales, and employs 6,500 members of staff.
The trust launched its bikes-for-work scheme in 2012 in partnership with Vivup, providing the benefit to employees via an enrolment window option for the first five years. Due to its popularity, it became an open all-year benefit in 2017.
Alexander Ford, travel plan coordinator at the trust, explains that since then, it has gone from strength to strength. “It was important for us to ensure that the scheme supported our local community bike shops and provided our staff with flexibility on where they could access a new bike,” he says.
According to the trust, the scheme was quick and easy to implement, with employees applying for their chosen bike on the portal before receiving it after approval. Vivup provides communications and promotional resources from weekly global Chatterbox emails and social media posts to traditional on-site posters.
Ford believes that the scheme is an important benefit to the workforce as it helps with their commute, health and wellbeing and saves them money too. “We are noticing second and third generation bike orders, and since we increased the spend limit to £2,000 for staff, we have seen a move towards e-bikes. To date about 10% of our commuting NHS cyclists now use e-bikes and we believe this usage will continue,” he states.
Since the launch, the trust has also noticed a gradual improvement in the quality of the bikes that are people are choosing. Hybrid commuting bikes are the most popular, with mountain bikes second and e-bikes ranked third. Indeed, the majority of staff email queries received are focused around e-bikes.
A total of 132 secure sheltered bike spaces and a further 170 Sheffield stands have been erected, including sheltered stands across all of the trust’s NHS sites. Ford comments that the goal is to place cycle parking close to all hospital entrances to make it more convenient for staff, encourage more users and improve security.
Additionally, the team runs a Facebook page called Greener Travels Bicycle User Group featuring news and updates to assist and benefit staff. Before the Covid-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic, the page had 250 NHS community users, but has now grown to more than 400 members. The trust has also re-started its monthly Dr Bike events, which help staff with any cycling mechanical issues.