Bringing chemotherapy treatment closer to patients' homes
The Mobile Chemotherapy Unit (MCU) is a purpose built vehicle on which Chemotherapy nurses from the Pembroke Unit at Salisbury NHS Trust will give chemotherapy and other supportive treatments. It is supported by the national cancer charity "Hope for Tomorrow".
The MCU will travel from Salisbury to locations within the Salisbury NHS Foundation Trust catchment area: Wiltshire, Hampshire and Dorset.
The MCU will operate two days a week, however this may be reviewed to meet future service needs and developments.
The aim of the MCU is to reduce the amount of travelling you have to do, by providing an opportunity to give certain treatments closer to your home. Regrettably, hospital transport will not be available to get you to the bus.
Can all patients receive treatment on the MCU?
Not all patients and treatments will be suitable for treatment on the MCU. If you are thought to be suitable you will be offered the option of receiving your treatment on the MCU. You will, however, have to receive your first treatment in the Pembroke Unit in case you have any immediate side effects. Circumstances may prevent the MCU going to the planned location on the day. If this happens, you will be contacted by phone and alternative arrangements will be made for your treatment on that day – this may mean you have to travel to the Pembroke Unit for treatment.
If you need a blood test before chemotherapy, you will need to arrange for this to be done either at your GP surgery or in the Pathology Department at the hospital. You will be given a blood test form at each treatment session in time for the next treatment. You need to have your blood taken at least 48 hours before your next treatment. This will ensure the results are available in time for your assessment and so that we may prepare the drugs you need. Without the blood results, the chemotherapy may not be prepared and treatment may be delayed.
Assessments before treatment
There are no doctors on the MCU, therefore you will be assessed before each treatment to make sure you are well enough to receive treatment. This will be done through a clinic appointment in Salisbury or via atelephone assessment by one of the Oncology/Haematology doctors or nurses a day or so before treatment.
You must be available to receive the telephone assessment on an accessible telephone such as a landline or mobile number at the time allocated. If the telephone assessment suggests that you are unwell, treatment may be delayed and there is a possibility you may need to be seen by the doctor at the Pembroke Unit before treatment is continued.
Might the treatment on the MCU be stopped?
It may be necessary for treatment on the MCU to be stopped because of how you feel during the treatment or the condition of your veins for cannulation. This will involve discussion with both nursing staff and your consultant. Also if your circumstances change and you have additional needs which cannot be addressed on the MCU, such as loss of mobility, you may have to go to the Pembroke Unit for your treatment.
How will treatment be given on the MCU?
Treatment will be given in the same way as it is in hospital. The MCU has four comfortable recliner chairs for patients to use and the nurses will have all the necessary equipment available. To ensure that the day runs smoothly please turn up at the allocated appointment time. Please ring the bell on the MCU when you arrive for treatment. Due to lack of space and resources, the nurses may ask you to wait in the local hospital or surgery until they are ready. Hot drinks are available on the MCU but we recommend that you bring other refreshments that you may need.
Can relatives stay with the patient on the MCU?
There is limited space available on the MCU so, unlike on the Pembroke Unit, relatives cannot stay with you during your treatment. However there will be space for relatives and friends bringing patients for treatment to wait in the hospital or surgery close to where the MCU is parked.
Will patients still have contact with the hospital team at Salisbury?
If you are receiving treatment on the MCU, you will still be under the care of the same consultant oncologist or haematologist and they will continue to supervise your treatment.
For queries relating to MCU appointments please ring the Treatment Scheduler 01722 336262 ext 3296.
If you feel unwell on the day of treatment on the MCU, you must ring the hotline number on 01722 341930 before attending the MCU.
MCU is supported by Hope for Tomorrow: 01666 505055. Registered Charity No. 1094677