HRH The Princess Royal unveils Tenovus Cancer Care’s new £1m Mobile Support Unit


HRH The Princess Royal has today (Wednesday 24th October) unveiled Tenovus Cancer Care’s new £1m Mobile Support Unit, the largest mobile chemotherapy treatment unit in the world.

At a ceremony at Roald Dahl Plass in Cardiff Bay, HRH The Princess Royal, a Tenovus Cancer Care Patron for more than a decade, officially launched the charity’s third Mobile Support Unit.

It is 60% bigger than Tenovus Cancer Care’s first Mobile Support Unit, launched in 2009, with seven chemotherapy chairs and is capable of seeing 30 patients a day and delivering more than 8,500 treatments a year.

Calculations show Tenovus Cancer Care’s two existing Mobile Support Units save the NHS in Wales more than £1m a year and the new Mobile Support Unit could deliver more than 125,000 treatments over the course its lifetime.

Claudia McVie, Chief Executive of Tenovus Cancer Care, commented: “This is an incredibly proud day for everyone at the charity as we launch a world-leading Mobile Support Unit that will have a huge impact on the lives of cancer patients across Wales.  It would not have been possible without the tireless work of the Closer to Home Appeal Committee and generous donations from individuals and organisations, both big and small.  But the hard work starts now, we know that cancer rates are 14% higher in Wales than England and this places a lot of pressure on Health Boards. This new unit can be part of the solution by delivering chemotherapy, screening and other treatments.  We want the unit to help save as many lives as possible and to be in use 8am-8pm, 365 days a year. We are now in discussions with all Health Boards to try and get the unit running to capacity.  A survey of patients using our existing units revealed 93% preferred having their treatment on the unit instead of at a hospital and each year we save cancer patients 45,000 miles of travelling to and from hospital appointments.  Tenovus Cancer Care continues to lead the way in mobile cancer treatment and we want every patient to have the opportunity to benefit from this innovative service, which also saves them precious time and money, and reduces stress.”

More than £1m was raised for the build and running costs of the new unit by the Closer to Home Appeal Committee and thanks to generous donations from Principal Funder breast cancer charity Walk the Walk and the Welsh Government, Fairwood Trust, The Simon Gibson Charitable Trust and Carten100.

The Closer to Home Appeal Committee was led by Brian Lakin, Chairman and CEO of Sigma 3 Kitchens and supported by Appeal Patron Sam Warburton.

Brian Lakin said: “As Chair of the Closer to Home Appeal and on behalf of the appeal committee, I am proud to acknowledge the efforts and offer sincere thanks to the business community, smaller groups and individuals all of whom have given such incredible support to our fundraising efforts during this past 18 months.  Now we see the fruits of the efforts as we celebrate the launch of a brand new, truly astonishing, Mobile Support Unit that will provide various, often life-saving, treatments to the people of Wales, in their local community – Closer to Home.”

Nina Barough, Founder and Chief Executive of Principal Funder Walk the Walk, said: “If you need to have chemotherapy this is where you’d want it to be. It is sufficiently medical to inspire confidence, but has a very warm, calm, welcoming and intimate atmosphere, which is exactly what you need to help reduce the fear and anxiety that many feel when diagnosed with cancer. How exciting that the money raised by our MoonWalkers across the UK, has enabled Walk the Walk to grant funds to Tenovus Cancer Care and help to improve the care of cancer patients in Wales.”

Health Secretary Vaughan Gething said: “We are proud to be working with Tenovus Cancer Care and the NHS to deliver chemotherapy in a community setting, away from the stress and the bustle of a busy hospital environment.  This is an excellent example of what can be achieved when government, NHS and third sector work together for the benefit of patients in Wales. Mobile units like this are an innovative way of helping people access care in the community and I hope that many people will go onto benefit from this new service.”