Hope for Tomorrow
BMS funds mobile cancer care units to support community treatment and combat COVID-19 backlog
We all witnessed the extraordinary contributions from NHS staff as they went beyond the call of duty for their patients throughout the pandemic. And when we spoke to frontline workers, they told us how the pandemic had also caused devastating delays to cancer diagnosis and care. In the UK alone, more than 650,000 people have experienced disruption to their cancer treatment, and approximately 50,000 have a missed diagnosis of cancer.1 There has also been a significant drop in the number of people seeing their GP and being referred for cancer diagnostic tests.1 At Bristol Myers Squibb, we recognised these huge difficulties faced by the NHS, and we knew we needed to help.
Making a difference to the delivery of cancer care
The charity Hope for Tomorrow supports NHS partners by helping deliver patient care from a fleet of mobile cancer units that travel to the heart of communities. They offer a wide range of treatments and facilities, including accessible daily clinics, cancer screening and education programmes. Over the past year, they’ve delivered more than 25,000 treatments on board their units, helping people continue life as normal without having to spend time travelling or waiting in hospital for appointments.
At BMS, we’re committed to helping improve treatments for the cancer community. That’s why we were delighted to support Hope for Tomorrow with more than £700,000 of funding to build two new units. Staff at our Uxbridge site were visited by the new unit – which was named Jewel by BMS employee Sophie Elkins - on 23 May 2022. Once it left Uxbridge, the unit travelled to The James Paget University Hospitals Foundation Trust to begin delivering treatment across Great Yarmouth.
Alison Day and her mother, Gail Jose from Gillingham, Dorset, know first-hand just how important these units are. They were treated for cancer during the pandemic and said that having access to one of Hope for Tomorrow’s mobile units made a world of difference to their care. Alison, who was being treated for breast cancer, said: “What was brilliant in particular is that with COVID I couldn’t go to hospital as I am classed as clinically extremely vulnerable, and there are limited visits for people like me. The Hope for Tomorrow unit is a great way to still receive treatment in a safe, very calm and friendly environment, and our contact with people is limited, which is essential.”
Scott Cooke, General Manager of UK and Ireland at BMS, said: “We’re really proud to have supported Hope for Tomorrow by providing them with this funding because we recognise how vital the mobile units are in delivering cancer treatment to areas that need it most. BMS remains dedicated to supporting the NHS in its COVID-19 recovery, and these two mobile care units will make a real difference to thousands of people’s lives.”
Meet the two units funded by BMS
Name: Jewel – in recognition of researcher Jewel Plumber Cobb PhD, who advanced the understanding of skin cancer and spearheaded the advancement of women and minorities in STEM
- Four chemotherapy treatment chairs
- Chemotherapy pump stands
- Medical grade fridge
- Air conditioning, cooling and heating system for patient comfort
- Toilet and small kitchen
Treatment area: Working with James Paget University Hospitals Foundation Trust, serving Lowestoft, Beccles, Pakefield, Caister and Bradwell in Great Yarmouth
Name: Christine – in memory of the late Christine Mills MBE who founded Hope For Tomorrow
Unit facilities (in addition to those on Jewel):
- Diagnostic and consulation clinics
- Soundproofed private rooms
- Digital technology to link with hospitals
Treatment area: Working with Airedale NHS Foundation Trust, serving Ilkley, Airedale, Keighley and Bingley in West Yorkshire.
Tina Seymour, CEO of Hope for Tomorrow, said: “We are so grateful to BMS for their funding because it’s enabled us to undertake the build of our next-generation mobile cancer care unit, Christine. It also enabled us to build the Jewel mobile cancer care unit, which paid a visit to BMS staff in Uxbridge this month. BMS recognises our vision and unwavering commitment to making excellent cancer care more accessible for everyone, and we really do appreciate their continued support of our mission.”
Date or preparation: May 2022