Pioneering mobile cancer treatment to launch in Norfolk

NHS staff stand in front on new mobile cancer treatment unit

NNUH and Hope for Tomorrow staff with the new mobile cancer care unit. - Credit: Norfolk and Norwich University Hospitals NHS Foundation

An expansion of cancer services in Norfolk is set to begin with the launch of a pioneering mobile cancer treatment unit.

The Mobile Cancer Care Unit (MCCU) has been developed between the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and cancer charity Hope for Tomorrow. It will take to the road on January 12, starting in Fakenham.

The cancer service will bring treatment 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. 

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.

The vehicle houses a mobile chemotherapy day unit with space for four recliner chairs, infusion pumps, a kitchen area and patient toilet. During the Covid-19 pandemic, treatments will be limited to only two patients at any one time to maintain social distancing.

Nurses stand inside the mobile cancer treatment unit

Inside the new NNUH and Hope for Tomorrow mobile cancer care unit which launches in Fakenham on January 12. - Credit: Norfolk and Norwich University Hospitals NHS Foundation

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.

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.

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“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 patients confidence and improving experience.”

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.”