July 8, 2022
The National Health Service (NHS) in the U.K. is set to pilot the first chemotherapy treatment delivery service via drone, in a project launched in collaboration with technology company Apian.
Trial deliveries are expected to take place this month, flying life-saving medication from Portsmouth Hospitals University NHS Trust to St. Mary’s Hospital on the Isle of Wight.
Chemotherapy medication has a short shelf life and is challenging to transport over long distances, with the same journey to the Isle of Wight typically requiring two cars, a hovercraft and a ferry of more than four hours. Drones can slash this transport time to 30 minutes.
If successful, the Isle of Wight pilot delivery would be followed by a trial in Northumbria.
“This project marks a very important first step in the construction of a network of drone corridors connecting hospitals, pathology labs, GP surgeries, care homes and pharmacies up and down the country,” said Alexander Trewby, Apian CEO.
The news comes under the NHS long-term plan, an initiative established to accelerate deployment of innovative technologies across the U.K.’s medical sector.
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