Isle of Wight NHS trust trials drones for chemotherapy deliveries

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Apian droneImage source, Apian
Image caption,
The Isle of Wight NHS Trust is expanding its drone trials and investigating the potential to deliver chemotherapy

Drones could be used to deliver chemotherapy drugs to cancer patients from Hampshire to the Isle of Wight.

A three-month trial researching the benefits of using un-crewed aerial vehicles (UAVs) has been launched by Isle of Wight NHS Trust.

A trust spokesperson said the drones could solve logistical challenges caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

If successful, it's believed the trust would be the first in the world to deliver chemotherapy drugs by drone.

Image source, Apian
Image caption,
The drones will be based at British Army barracks on Thorney Island and fly around the Solent

Medical drone company Apian, as well as the University of Southampton, Solent transport and Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust are all involved in the research.

Maggie Oldham, chief executive of the trust, said she was "delighted" to be researching a "revolutionary way of transporting life-saving chemotherapy drugs."

She added: "During the Covid-19 pandemic we have faced several challenges, including unprecedented supply chain and logistical demands worldwide and this led to us exploring different ways of working to ensure a safe and efficient service for our patients."

Image source, Apian
Image caption,
If the trial is successful, it's believed to be the first time in the world that a drone would transport chemotherapy treatment

Research on the drones will be carried out until November to see how the impact of flight, like vibration and temperature, affects redundant medicine.

If that proves successful, the Isle of Wight NHS Trust will then approve the first flight for chemotherapy treatment, believed to be the first in the world.

The medical drones will be based at the British Army's barracks on Thorney Island in West Sussex and flown between Queen Alexandra Hospital's helipad in Portsmouth, to Thorney Island and on to St Mary's Hospital's helipad on the Isle of Wight.

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