People with cancer on the Isle of Wight are dependent on mainland providers for an ever-expanding range of chemotherapy.
Currently, patients who live on the Island have their chemotherapy treatment drugs delivered by a courier from Portsmouth Hospitals University NHS Trust, where they are manufactured, followed by a ferry or hovercraft to the Island and then onwards by taxi to St Mary’s Hospital in Newport.
In addition to the carbon footprint caused by these modes of transport, the journey can sometimes take up to four hours for the medication to reach the hospital, before taking into account any disruptions or cancellations to transport services, which complicate deliveries and distract staff with additional workload.
Chemotherapy has to be transported under strict temperature-controlled conditions and some treatments have a short shelf life. Furthermore, it is manufactured before the patient has been clinically assessed as able to receive treatment on the day it’s due. This means, in some cases, the patient’s condition can cause the treatment to be delayed and the chemotherapy to be wasted.