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our latest Next Generation mobile cancer care unit

Cancer charity, Hope for Tomorrow, which provides the mobile cancer units to Airedale NHS Foundation Trust, has won a national award for helping the NHS to deliver local cancer treatment on mobile cancer care units. The charity won the Patient’s Choice Award at the Building Better Healthcare Awards, held in London this month and was also highly commended in the best mobile healthcare facility category.

Hope for Tomorrow builds and provides mobile cancer care units to NHS trusts across the country. The treatment units drive out to patients’ communities rather than patients having to make long and sometimes stressful journeys to hospital for their cancer care.  Airedale NHS Foundation Trust operates two mobile cancer care units. The first was launched in 2018 and in 2021 the trust took delivery of a brand-new Next Generation unit with separate consultation rooms that extend hydraulically from the unit. The two units allow patients to be treated in Colne, Ilkley, Settle, Bingley, Skipton, Keighley, Wharfedale and at Airedale General Hospital.

Award judge, Patricia Wilkie, president and chairman of the National Association of Patient Participation, said:

“What a simple but imaginative way to make things easier for patients, as well as freeing up space in hospitals. It can be taken to different places, making access easy for patients.  It also saves patients who are unwell, due to their underlying diagnosis or the effects of their treatment, having to travel to hospital. The vehicle seems remarkably spacious inside and I think it is a super idea.”

Inside, the units are just like hospital treatment rooms, with four treatment chairs, chemotherapy pump stands, and medical storage facilities. They are equipped with air conditioning and a cooling and heating system for patient comfort, as well as a toilet and kitchen, allowing specialist staff to see 20+ patients a day.

Cancer treatment can be emotional, time consuming and often needs to take place over long periods. The average time a patient saves for each appointment is 2.5 hours, which significantly reduces the impact on their working lives and their families. It also makes them less dependent on others for transport.

The charity’s latest patient feedback shows that, on average, for each treatment, patients save two-and-a-half hours, 20 travel miles, and the stress of parking. With treatment lasting several months and sometimes years, the time and financial savings can be considerable. Seventy-one percent of patients said they can tolerate their treatment more easily on a mobile cancer care unit, while 47% felt that they were more likely to complete their full course of treatment.

Hope for Tomorrow chief executive Tina Seymour said: “We are particularly delighted with this award, because it relates to directly to patient care. The state-of-the-art units impress everyone who experiences them, but fundamentally they exist to treat cancer patients and ease the stress and strain of treatment during difficult times, so we are extremely pleased that these important benefits have been recognised.”

“Having the two mobile units whether out in the community or based on site, ensures we can treat Airedale patients safely. In an age where we all spend time waiting, the mobile units give precious time to patients that they can spend with family, friends and carrying on with their lives. Being able to offer clinics in the community helps with this even more. Hope for Tomorrow deserve the award for their continued innovative ideas, tireless and continued support for cancer patients.”