CANCER care will be available closer to home for patients in Ilkley and Burley-in-Wharfedale thanks to a new Mobile Cancer Care Unit (MCCU) for West Yorkshire.

On Monday cancer charity Hope for Tomorrow and Airedale NHS Foundation Trust officially unveiled the state-of-the art MCCU, which has four treatment chairs and has been designed to enable flexibility for treatment locations. These locations are determined by the hospital, depending on where the patient need is greatest. Booths Supermarket in Ilkley and the Generous Pioneer in Burley-in-Wharfedale are two of the locations where the MCCU will treat cancer patients.

The unit is called ‘Linda’ in memory of the late wife of Hope for Tomorrow Ambassador Captain Dan Conley, who sadly died from cancer.

The vehicle is owned and maintained by Hope for Tomorrow and will be provided along with a Nurses’ Support Vehicle (NSV) which allows the nursing team to travel to and from the locations of the MCCU.

Megan Broadley, Hope for Tomorrow Partnership Manager said: “We are very excited to be partnering with Airedale NHS Foundation Trust. We already have a great working relationship with the trust and look forward to developing this further to make the MCCU a success.”

Michael Howard a patient at Airedale Hospital said: “I would like to say that although there is never a good time to be told you need cancer treatment, to be told that within our area that treatment is available a few minutes from your own home in comfortable and quiet surroundings -now that is a major leap forward.”

Pat Dyminski Lead Nurse Specialist said: “In the few short weeks we have been using the mobile unit it has made a huge difference to the patients’ lives. Patients comments have been very positive and the stress of travelling, parking and waiting has been relieved, making the patients much more relaxed when having difficult treatment.”

Stacey Hunter, Chief Operating Officer of Airedale NHS Foundation Trust said: “This is helping us bring our ambition to, wherever possible, offer patients care closer to home so that they don’t have to spend their valuable time travelling to hospital.”

Ilkley’s MP John Grogan, said: “This bus is a fine example of the NHS working closely with a charity to deliver better services for patients. My own family experience has taught me about how tiring and demanding a course of chemotherapy can be. The idea of climbing on to a smart bus parked near home and being treated without a long wait will for many people just make the whole experience more bearable.”