Mobile cancer care for Wales

12 May 2008

Tenovus to take cancer care into Welsh communities

Welsh cancer charity Tenovus is today unveiling a new strategic direction delivering cancer treatment, care and support to people in their own communities.

The physical, emotional and financial costs of travelling to treatment centres are great for many cancer patients. Therefore, in an innovative move, the charity will be delivering chemotherapy to cancer patients in their communities through specially-adapted mobile units.

They will also provide comprehensive care and support to both patients and their families through counsellors, welfare and social support workers and access to cancer information.

The units will also focus on the prevention and early detection of cancer through the engagement of communities in health promotion initiatives and providing access to cancer screening programmes such as genetic testing.

This will be the first time that such a holistic approach to cancer care and treatment has ever been delivered this way in the UK.

The mobile units will be complemented by a network of local support centres, providing services such as patient and family counselling, screening trials, research projects, health education and cancer prevention messages, as well as access to welfare rights advisors in areas where this support is not currently available.

The new direction will see the first local support centre and mobile unit in operation by the end of 2008.

Claudia McVie, chief executive of Tenovus said, “Forty six people a day in Wales are told they have cancer, and this figure will have doubled by 2020. The combination of more people being diagnosed with cancer and increasing survival rates mean that a growing number of people are in need of our help.

“Reports show that each cancer patient will visit hospital an average of 53 times, making the costs of travelling and the added strain this puts on those and their families who are affected by cancer, considerable. Our research highlighted the problems of cancer in areas of social deprivation where cancer incidence is higher and outcomes worse.

“Therefore, we feel our new direction is truly groundbreaking work which will help meet the needs of today’s cancer patients and to address the inequities our research showed cancer patients across Wales.

“By taking treatments out of the hospital setting and making sure people can access the lifesaving treatments they need in their local area, we are freeing up their time and money, giving them the reassurance of being treated locally and also freeing up valuable space in hospitals for the NHS.

“The decision to make such a radical overhaul to the direction of Tenovus is one that has been taken after a great deal of research to ensure we are delivering the services that meet the needs of today’s cancer patients. By taking this new direction we can really help make a difference to cancer treatment and survival rates in Wales.”

Tenovus will also maintain its commitment to its current programme of research, spending over £4.2million until 2012. The charity will be launching a new programme of PhD studentships in partnership with universities, as well as encourage promising graduates from psychology, social science, nursing and physiotherapy courses to apply for these grants.

Lisa Miller, Director of operations at Velindre Cancer Centre, said, “We are delighted at Velindre Cancer Centre to be working with Tenovus on their new direction.

“The ability to provide chemotherapy closer to patient’s homes is something which has been a main strategic driver for many years with the development of outreach chemotherapy services at other hospitals around south east Wales.

“The mobile unit will provide an exciting opportunity to provide improved access using an innovative approac