Drones deliver chemotherapy drugs in half an hour in NHS study on Isle of Wight | UK News

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The NHS will trial the use of drones to deliver life-saving chemotherapy drugs within half an hour.

Doctors believe the pilot, which will transport the medicines from a Portsmouth hospital to the Isle of Wight, could be the first step towards ‘same-day delivery’ for healthcare.

It is hoped that drones will allow doctors to order drugs and medical equipment from anywhere in the country for delivery that day.

In the study, chemotherapy drugs are being delivered to St Mary’s Hospital on the Isle of Wight from a Portsmouth Hospitals University NHS Trust pharmacy.

The drone will cut delivery times from four hours to 30 minutes, as one flight replaces two car trips and one hovercraft or ferry trip per delivery.

NHS England officials said the chemotherapy is difficult to transport as some doses have a short shelf life.

The new method, launched in partnership with tech company Apian, will save time and money and provide a better option for cancer patients living on the island, many of whom have to travel to the mainland for treatment, officials added.

After the Isle of Wight, the drone program will be tested in Northumbria.

“Faster and fairer access to treatment”

Amanda Pritchard, Chief Executive of NHS England, said: “The delivery of chemotherapy by drone is another extraordinary development for cancer patients and shows how the NHS will stop at nothing to ensure people get the treatment they need as quickly as possible – while reducing costs and carbon emissions.

“As the NHS turns 74, it’s clear that the pace of change and improvement across healthcare will only accelerate as our fantastic staff seek to make the most of life-changing advances to improve patients’ lives, like we promised it in the NHS Long Term Schedule.”

Health Secretary Sajid Javid said: “I want England to become a world leader in cancer care and using the latest technology to deliver chemotherapy by drone means patients, wherever they live, have quicker and fairer access to treatment.

“As the NHS turns 74, innovations like these will help improve patient access to lifesaving care while ensuring the NHS makes the most of the record funding we are investing to clear the COVID backlog. “



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