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Hope for Tomorrow wins national patient award for treatment units

Patient’s Choice Award winner

Cancer charity, Hope for Tomorrow, 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 and was highly commended in another 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.

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.”

We are particularly delighted with this award, because it relates to directly to patient care.

In 2007 the charity provided Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust with the world’s first mobile cancer care unit. Today the charity provides 14 mobile cancer care units and 13 nurse support vehicles to 11 NHS trusts, and last year the mobile units allowed the NHS to provide over 26,000 treatments at 41 locations across England.

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. One NHS trust is currently trialling a unit, funded entirely through a generous donation from pharmaceutical company Bristol Myers Squibb, which has separate consultation rooms that extend hydraulically from the unit.

Hope for Tomorrow chief executive Tina Seymour said: “We are particularly delighted with this award, because it relates 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.”

The charity’s latest patient feedback shows that, on average, for each treatment, patients save two-and-a-half hours, 20 travel miles, and £6 on 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.

As well as winning the Patient’s Choice Award, sponsored by International Hospitals Group (IHG), Hope for Tomorrow was also highly commended in the Best Modular/Mobile Healthcare Facility, which was sponsored by the Guardtech Group.

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