Weston Park Cancer Charity (WPCC) in Sheffield have launched a new transport service for cancer patients from Chesterfield requiring treatment.
The service will operate twice daily from Monday to Friday between The University of Derby’s St Helena Campus in Chesterfield and Sheffield Teaching Hospitals.
Around 20% of patients at the Cancer Centre are from Chesterfield and Emma Clarke, director of services and grant-giving at WPCC, says it will allow patients to focus on their recovery.
Clarke said: “A cancer diagnosis is a difficult thing for anyone to hear. But imagine that the recommended treatment is miles away from your home and you have no ability to make that journey.
“We don’t want anyone to ever have to face the decision to decline treatment because travel to and from their appointments is the barrier.”
Strict safety measures mean the volunteer drivers will be tested twice a week and buses will be cleaned thoroughly before every journey to ensure the safety of everybody on-board.
Sheree Hall, Macmillan lead cancer nurse at Chesterfield Royal Hospital, said the Covid-19 pandemic has forced patients to even have to decline treatment in some cases.
Hall said: “During lockdown we’ve had a few cases in which individuals have had to contact us because they have no other means of getting to their appointment and simply no money to pay for taxis.
“Due to Covid-19 there wasn’t even the facility to travel how they might have done before.”
Dr Paula Holt MBE, Pro Vice-Chancellor Dean of the College of Health, Psychology and Social Care at the University of Derby said the University was delighted to be able to support the scheme.
“We are delighted to be able to support Weston Park Cancer Charity and, in particular, residents of the Chesterfield area who depend upon this vital service.
“The University of Derby is proud to engage with the voluntary sector in the town to deliver projects and services which can make such an important and positive difference to people’s lives.”