A NEW state-of-the-art mobile cancer unit has been launched by Airedale NHS Foundation Trust.

The unit boosts the provision for taking cancer care and treatments, including chemotherapy, to patients in the community.

It will visit venues across Airedale, Wharfedale and Craven five days a week.

The Next Generation unit, which has been provided by the charity Hope for Tomorrow, includes hydraulic sides which move out to provide two clinic rooms.

Specialist oncology nursing teams and pharmacists will staff the vehicle.

A spokesperson said: “Moving cancer care closer to patients has proven health and wellbeing benefits, as the reduced travel and waiting times can lower stress and anxiety levels. Staff also appreciate the different working environment, away from the hospital setting.

“The new unit will be used for clinics that are already in place but will now be in the community, so patients can incorporate their appointments into their lives rather than fit their life around hospital appointments."

The trust received its first unit from Hope for Tomorrow in 2018 and had the use of an additional one during the pandemic – and both have been a huge success.

Pat Dyminksi – lead clinical nurse specialist for haematology, oncology and chemotherapy at Airedale NHS Foundation Trust – said: “Since we received our very first mobile unit it has had a huge impact on patients. For me, the most important thing was that patients would feel as safe in the mobile units as they do in hospital.

“It was a vision to begin with but it has been extremely successful and now, three years on, we are here using the units to their maximum potential.”

Patients to benefit include Sheenagh Stapleton, who cut the ribbon at a launch event for the new unit – which has been named Christine after Hope for Tomorrow founder Christine Mills, who died of cancer in 2018.

Sheenagh used to have to make a 40-mile round trip to receive treatment, but now the unit visits a location just five minutes’ drive from her home.

“It makes such a difference,” she said. “It means I don’t have to get my family to come out of work to collect me and disrupt their day and I can get on with a normal routine rather than have everything turned upside down.”

Brendan Brown, chief executive of Airedale NHS Foundation Trust, said: “We are immensely proud to launch this new unit, which takes cancer care and treatment into the very heart of our communities. We would like to thank Hope for Tomorrow for its fantastic support in making this a reality.”