A MOBILE chemotherapy service for Hampshire cancer patients was put into operation in Fordingbridge on Tuesday.

The £260,000 Mobile Chemotherapy Unit, funded by charity Hope For Tomorrow, started delivering chemotherapy treatments to patients, who usually travel to Salisbury District Hospital, at Fordingbridge's Drill Hall.

Hazel Wells from East Woodyates was the second patient to be treated at Fordingbridge.

She said: “I have been receiving chemotherapy treatment for over ten years and the mobile unit will provide such a different environment for me.

“It is so restful and allows me to arrive in time for my appointment and be away within two hours. I can then go home and relax for the rest of the day.”

The unit aims to cut the travel time for those seeking treatment and could carry out more than 3,000 treatments a year.

It is the fourth unit the charity has built in the UK after other launches in Gloucestershire, Somerset and Wiltshire.

Hope for Tomorrow’s Christine Mills, who founded the charity in 2003 after she lost her husband David to cancer, said it had taken “lots of planning and fundraising to get it here”.

Another of the patients to use the service Elspeth Mackeggie Gurney currently has to travel 40 miles for her weekly treatment, relying on her husband or friends to drive her to hospital and wait for several hours in hospital until Elspeth has finished her treatment.

She said: “Chemotherapy is a pretty daunting experience, even if one is lucky enough not to suffer too many side effects.

“I must say that I never felt great after treatment and it will be wonderful to have only a very short journey home.

“I start a new course of treatment shortly and I know that the mobile chemotherapy unit is going to make the whole thing so much less stressful.”

The use of a small unit treating four or five people at a time also means there is much less waiting around for patients.

The charity owns and maintains the units, which cost £260,000 to build and maintain for three years, and provides them to the NHS to operate.

Staff from Salisbury District Hospital's specialist cancer treatment centre, the Pembroke Unit, will run the unit.

For more details visit hopefortomorrow.org.uk .