Bringing cancer care closer to home with new mobile treatment unit
An expansion of cancer services in Norfolk is set to begin with the launch of a pioneering mobile treatment unit.
The Mobile Cancer Care Unit (MCCU) will hit the road from next week (Tuesday 12 January), thanks to an innovative partnership between the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and cancer charity Hope for Tomorrow.
The project will start in Fakenham and will bring cancer treatments closer to people’s homes to improve patient experience.
The mobile unit is owned and maintained by Hope for Tomorrow and will be provided along with a Nurses’ Support Vehicle (NSV). The NNUH staffing costs will be covered by the Norfolk and Norwich Hospitals Charity for the first three years, which has supported funding two registered nurses, a driver, pharmacy support and booking team.
All other costs associated with the MCCU and NSV, such as running costs and maintenance, are covered by Hope for Tomorrow, who receive no government funding and rely purely on donations to keep these units operating.
The vehicle houses a mobile chemotherapy day unit with space for four recliner chairs, infusion pumps, a kitchen area and patient toilet.
Joanna Richardson, Lead Cancer Nurse at NNUH, said: “We are delighted to be launching this service with Hope for Tomorrow to bring chemotherapy and drug infusion treatments closer to home. Many patients travel a more than 50 mile round trip to receive their treatment at NNUH with many others travelling from outside Norfolk. This initiative allows them to travel to a convenient location nearby and be treated by the same team of nurses from the NNUH, giving patient confidence and improving experience.”
During the Covid-19 pandemic, treatments will be limited to only two patients at any one time to maintain social distancing.
The initiative is part of the national and local cancer strategies to support patients in the community, closer to home and build on primary and secondary care links. The programme will increase locations over the next few months to include Dereham, Attleborough, and Beccles.
John Paul Garside, Charity Director for NNUH, added: “We are delighted to be providing nearly £600,000 of funding over the next three years to run the Mobile Cancer Care Unit. The funding is from a legacy received by the charity and will be used to provide all running costs such as staff and clinical equipment for the service. Working in conjunction with Hope for Tomorrow means that the N&N Hospitals Charity is at the heart of helping to be part of improving facilities for cancer patients across Norfolk.”
Tina Seymour, Chief Executive of Hope for Tomorrow, said: “We’re delighted to be partnering with NNUH, furthering the reach of our Mobile Cancer Care Units into another group of communities. We send our very best wishes to all of the patients who will receive treatment on board. We look forward to their feedback as their cancer treatment becomes more convenient, giving them valuable time to spend doing something other than travelling to hospital appointments.”