A mobile cancer centre has been set up at the Old Kent Road Tesco to minimise patients’ risk of catching coronavirus.
The centres are for essential tests close to where the patients live, taken 48 hours before life-saving chemotherapy.
The tests take place in a St John Ambulance in car-parks, with one currently located at the Tesco superstore in Dunton Road, Bermondsey.
By bringing the treatment centre closer to patients, doctors hope to minimise the travel they have to make, and limit potential exposure to coronavirus.
“Some cancer patients are at particular risk of COVID-19 and other infections due to a compromised immune system following treatment and chemotherapy,” said Dr Catherine Oakley of Guy’s Cancer Centre.
“If there is anything we can do to minimise potential exposure to the disease by reducing the number of trips patients have to make to the cancer centre, on public transport, that has to be a good thing.”
The mobile centres, which are also based in Clapham and Beckenham, have seen 500 patients since being launched at the end of April.
St John Ambulance volunteer, Toni Whiteing, helps coordinate the service. “For our volunteers, being part of this in their local community is hugely rewarding; we feel incredibly proud to be involved in supporting these patients at a time when they may be feeling vulnerable, especially due to COVID-19,” she said.
Blood tests are needed before starting chemotherapy, to make sure there are no liver and kidney problems, and blood count levels are the right levels for treatment.