Merseyside and Cheshire Cancer Network launched the iVan service in July 2009.
It was a concept modelled on the Macmillan Information Bus that tours the country and was developed by the then Macmillan Information Manager at the Network, Sandra Rowlands in collaboration with Mandy Snee from the Clatterbridge Cancer Centre Radiography Department. The Macmillan Bus visited the network for 13 days in 2008, and whilst their target is 6000 contacts per year, the Cancer Network had 1815 contacts in two weeks. The need was identified for a similar service due to the obvious demand, high incidence and mortality rates and to complement the Early Detection and Prevention Strategy.
Sandra was responsible for the ‘birth’ of iVan, overseeing his development from a flatbed truck chassis right through to the end fit out at Baileys Bodybuilders in Stoke on Trent.
Who are we?
Debbie Doherty RGN BA is the current Mobile Cancer Information, Awareness and Support Manager of the service, having joined the Cancer Network in August 2011. Debbie has been a qualified nurse for over 20 years, and her experience includes roles as an Upper GI Cancer Nurse Specialist, a Research Nurse, District Nurse and Macmillan Nurse.
Justine Kennedy is the Mobile Cancer Information Resource Coordinator. She joined the service in August 2009, at the very beginning of iVan taking to the road. Her background is in Patient and Public Involvement and she was also a long term conditions self-management tutor.
What We Do
iVan Cancer Awareness, Information and Support Van is a 27 foot long bright yellow mobile service that tours Merseyside and Cheshire, visiting venues in Sefton, Warrington, St Helens and Halton, Knowsley, Liverpool, Wirral and Chester and West Cheshire in conjunction with the respective NHS Trusts/Clusters. iVan is a walk on/no appointment necessary information and support service with a small private consultation area to speak to the nurse, and at the front of the vehicle is a comprehensive information library of leaflets about spotting the signs and symptoms of cancer, early detection and prevention.
iVan visits 16 venues every month across the network working closely with colleagues out in the community who identify the area where iVan should be placed according to their local knowledge. Justine contacts the potential venues and arranges for iVan to visit the sites – they can range from shopping centres to work places to supermarkets to the many beaches we have in our area. Both Debbie and Justine are the drivers of iVan, and they take iVan to the venue in the morning, open up the door and people just step on board. As the van has a lift, it is wheelchair and push chair friendly as well. Visitors can either browse the leaflets and take any they feel they need, or speak to Debbie about specific symptoms. They can sit down and spend as long as they like with Debbie while Justine talks to other visitors about spotting the signs and symptoms, early detection and prevention.
Calendar of Events
Nursing Support and Volunteers
To provide our quality service, we have support from a bank of qualified nurses who can provide the clinical support in the absence of Debbie. Additionally, we have a number of volunteers from all sections of the community, some of whom have had a personal experience with cancer, others who are retired nurses and others who just have an interest in cancer awareness and want to use their particular skills to help us get the message across. We are always looking for more volunteers and if you are able to spare a few hours a month, please contact either Debbie or Justine for more information and how to apply. All applicants will need to be CRB cleared and take part in the standard NHS Induction Programme. Travel expenses are payable to and from the venue and there is always a warm welcome and a cup of tea ready on the van.