Drones designed to deliver drugs to cancer patients
The National Health Service is trying to encourage innovation
The UK’s National Health Service (NHS) is set to pilot the first delivery service for chemotherapy treatment using drones in a project launched in partnership with technology company Apian.
Trial deliveries are expected to take place this month, with the life-saving drug transported from Portsmouth Hospitals University NHS Trust to St. Mary’s Hospital on the Isle of Wight.
Chemotherapy drugs have a short shelf life and are difficult to transport over long distances, with a similar trip to the Isle of Wight typically requiring two cars, a hovercraft, and a ferry of more than four hours. Drones can reduce transport times by up to 30 minutes.
If successful, a pilot delivery on the Isle of Wight will be followed by a trial in Northumbria. “This project represents a very important first step in building a network of drone corridors connecting hospitals, pathology laboratories, GP surgeries, care homes, and pharmacies across the country,” said Alexander Trewby, CEO of Apian.
The news is part of the NHS’s long-term plan, an initiative created to accelerate the uptake of new technology in the UK’s medical sector.