New funding towards replacement for mobile cancer care unit

Published on May 7th, 2020


Health and Well Being | Other News | Support for the Community

The charity Hope for Tomorrow has received £10,000 funding from RDHCT towards the costs of purchasing a new body for their East Kent mobile cancer care unit, ‘Caron’. Based at Kent and Canterbury Hospital, the unit was launched in 2013 and brings vital cancer care closer to patients. The unit is essentially an HGV chassis with a cancer care clinical environment (the ‘body’) built upon it – it has four chemotherapy chairs allowing up to 20 patients a day to be treated. Treatments available include chemotherapy, infusions, blood tests and injections.

Susanne Knaus, Grants & Trusts Fundraising Officer, said: “These vehicles can be the difference between a one hour round trip between home and supermarket for example, or a three hour round trip to and from a hospital, just to attend a 5-10 minute appointment to receive an injection, to take a tablet, or to have a blood test. Of course, there are patients who need to stay and receive chemotherapy for a number of hours and for those the day is extremely long and physically taxing. To only have to travel a short distance takes away so much stress from patients.”

Caron is one of 12 vehicles together with their nurse support vehicles (NSV) deployed across the country. The units visit health centres, supermarkets or other community locations so there are no parking costs and Caron visits locations in Cheriton, Dover, Deal and Herne Bay. By providing a mobile service, the charity is able to alleviate the stresses and strains of travelling for appointments, along with reducing hospital waiting times and enabling them to spend more time with family, friends and loved ones. It also reduces financial pressures due to parking, transport, taking time off work and other associated costs. Nurses use the NSV to transport the required drugs to and from the daily treatment locations and travel independently from the unit.

Susanne said: “This funding is crucial for us. We rely on the support of organisations like RDHCT and others to help us maintain and replace these important support vehicles. Annually, the charity must raise £72.5k per unit in order for them to be able to continue running safely on the roads. Although the NHS staff run the units and the Trusts pay for the fuel, we own them and don’t charge for use of the units. We pay all their maintenance, repair and replacement costs.”

Hope for Tomorrow launched the world’s first ever MCCU service in 2007. It is funded entirely by charitable donations.

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