NHS trial using drones for chemotherapy drugs

The NHS announced that drones will be used to transport drugs, in an effort to speed up delivery of critical medicines.

NHS trial using drones for chemotherapy drugs

The NHS announced that drones will be used to transport drugs, in an effort to speed up delivery of critical medicines.

Pilot scheme: Chemotherapy drugs will fly from Portsmouth to an Isle of Wight hospital. The first flight will take place Monday.

NHS England stated that it hoped the technology would allow for "same day delivery" of orders in the country.

Amanda Pritchard, chief executive, said that the scheme was extraordinary and will be tested in Northumbria.

It is believed that the trust will be the first to fly chemotherapy drugs via drone if it succeeds.

She announced it before the 74th anniversary for the founding of NHS.

She said that "Delivering chemotherapy by drone is an extraordinary development for patients with cancer and shows how the NHS will do everything to ensure people receive the treatment they need as quickly as possible, while also cutting down on costs."

Delivery times to the island will be cut from four hours to thirty minutes by using one flight to replace two car journeys, and one hovercraft or ferry trip per delivery.

The drugs will be flown directly to St Mary's Hospital from Portsmouth Hospitals University NHS trust. There, staff will receive them and distribute them to the hospital teams.

A spokesperson for NHS England stated that chemotherapy drugs are difficult to transport because some doses have a very short shelf life.

He said that the new delivery method, created in partnership by tech company Apian would be a better option to cancer patients who live on the Isle of Wight. Many of them currently have to travel to mainland to receive treatment.

Sajid Javid, Health Secretary, said that he wants England to be "a world leader" in cancer care. He also stated that drones would allow patients to have "faster, fairer access to treatment no matter where they live."

Following the Isle of Wight trial, a Northumbria trial of the drone program is planned.

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