Good news! The new cars have been delivered and are in use, but the appeal goes on. Read about it
Imagine feeling ill . . .
- in pain, feeling sick, apprehensive
- facing radiotherapy treatment for cancer which might not be pleasant and certainly is unfamiliar
- facing the prospect of 15 or even 30 daily journeys from home to Addenbrookes Hospital on the outskirts of Cambridge (almost impossible by public transport, very demanding of family and friends).
Now imagine . . .
- receiving a phone call from a friendly voice, announcing his/her name and promising to collect you from home next morning
- In the morning, a ring at the door and the same person escorting you to a comfortable car where you may meet one or two others on the same journey
- being delivered direct to the Radiotherapy Department for treatment
- being met again afterwards
- comparing notes on the way home
- back home for lunch and putting your feet up
- all at no charge!
This scenario has been repeated day in, day out over the last 11 years through the Primrose Car Service at no cost to the patient.
The Primrose Car Service
Since January 2006, patients from the Primrose Oncology Unit going to Addenbrookes for Radiotherapy treatment have been able to travel in comfort and without charge due to a pioneering car service set up and run by the Bedford Hospitals Charity. Previously the patients were dependent on Patient Transport Service vehicles which collected a number of patients requiring different treatments at Addenbrookes from around the county before making their way to Cambridge. The whole trip often lasted all day. Thanks to the dedicated Primrose Car Service, which is believed to be unique in the NHS, patients are conveyed by comfortable Vauxhall Zafira cars from home to Addenbrookes and returned home as soon as the treatment - which only takes a few minutes - is completed. Of the four cars which provide the service, three are purchased by the Charity and the fourth is on loan from Vauxhall Motors. The four cars are driven by unpaid volunteers who are coordinated by a part-time coordinator paid for by the Charity, and the patient management is provided by the East of England Ambulance NHS Trust. Each year approximately 2000 patient journeys are made.
We need three new cars. The present ones have reached 80,000 miles and are beginning to show signs of their age. It will cost £50,000 to replace them with similar new vehicles.