From next month (June) Cancer patients using East Kent Hospitals’ Mobile Chemotherapy Unit (MCU) will be able to access blood transfusions in the vehicle – providing essential care closer to home.
The MCU – which is paid for by the charity, ‘Hope for Tomorrow’ – operates in Deal, Folkestone and Herne Bay. Staffed by highly-trained chemotherapy nurses, the MCU ensures that many patients can avoid a trip to Kent & Canterbury hospital, but instead access care in their home towns.
The blood transfusion project was initiated by Lead Chemotherapy Nurse, Tracey Rigden and Angela Green, Kent & Canterbury Head Biomedical Scientist for transfusions.
Tracey said: “Every month, up to 150 patients living in some of the coastal towns use the unit for essential treatment and avoid having coming to Canterbury.
“But some patients, depending on their condition, may require blood transfusions as part of their treatment. This is something that we haven’t been able to provide until now, because the process is complex and patient safety is paramount.”
Bringing the blood transfusions to the MCU has involved close cooperation between the chemotherapy team and the biomedical scientist team, combining knowledge and clinical expertise.
And even though the MCU gives patients life-saving treatment, the nurses try to make the environment as non-clinical as possible. A ratio of one nurse to two patients operates at all times, making sure that those receiving chemotherapy have focused care and attention.
“The patients love the unit,” said Tracey. “It makes life easier for them to have such a facility close to home.”
She added: “Despite the clinical nature of the work we do, there is lot of laughter on the MCU, and the nurses have a good rapport with the patients. It’s a great atmosphere with a lovely set-up.