A new mobile cancer unit has been newly set up directly outside the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in an innovative bid to "keep our most vulnerable patients safe during Covid-19."

Parked outside the children's entrance to the Woolwich hospital, the site saves patients going into the hospital, minimising their contact with other patients and staff and keeping them far from the Covid-19 wards.

Patients of both QEH and Lewisham Hospital will be able to make use of the trial, getting essential tests and procedures needed as part of cancer treatment.

The mobile cancer service is based in a St John Ambulance Community Response vehicle, and has been described as "safe, efficient and excellent."

Lisa McGarry, Lead Chemotherapy Nurse and Matron for Cancer Services, explained: "This is a crucial service and a fantastic way to keep our most vulnerable patients safe during this Covid-19 outbreak.

"The mobile cancer service reduces the number of people patients come into contact with and therefore reduces the risk of exposure to the virus.

"Patients drive up and wait safely in their car close to the St John Ambulance and are contacted via their mobile phone asking them to attend the St John Ambulance for their test or procedure.

"The feedback from our patients has been extremely positive.” 

The unit is a collaboration between St John Ambulance and Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Trust's Chemotherapy Day Unit and Phlebotomy Department.

The project has been sponsored by Guy’s charitable foundation and was developed by Guy’s Cancer with the South East London Cancer Alliance.

It was first piloted at Queen Elizabeth Hospital and extended to patients at University Hospital Lewisham from Thursday 9 July. The pilot will be running at the Trust until August 2020.

Stephen Poynter was diagnosed with bowel cancer in January, and has been using the mobile cancer service instead of coming into the hospital.

He commented: "Using this service makes me feel safe.

"It is efficient and excellent. The staff are lovely, and my bloods and checks are all done in 10 to 15 minutes. I cannot fault it, so please pass on my thanks to you all.”​