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Your first visit to the Oncology and Haematology Centre

Patient information A-Z

This leaflet is designed to introduce you to the Addenbrooke’s Oncology and Haematology Centre and inform you of what to expect from your first visit here.

We hope you find this information useful. If you require any additional information or have any specific needs, please feel free to use the contact number at the end.

Our Staff

You will meet a number of different members of staff on your first visit to our department. These include:

Support Staff

  • Reception Staff - who will check your name and details and make further appointments
  • Macmillan Welcome and Guide Volunteers - who can direct you where to go.
  • WRVS Volunteers who run the coffee shop in the Oncology and Haematology Centre
  • Macmillan Cancer Information and Support Service Team based in the Information Pod.

Clinical Staff

  • Phlebotomists - the people who take your blood
  • Doctors (Consultants, Registrars and other members of the medical team)
  • Nursing Staff (Clinical Nurse Specialists and Research Nurses)
  • Radiotherapy staff (Specialist Radiographers, Radiographers and Radiographer Assistants) - who help plan and give radiotherapy
  • Health Care Assistants who help run the clinics

Suggested things to bring

  • A friend of family member
  • A list of your current medications
  • Any questions you have
  • A pen and note pad
  • Prescription exemption certificate, if you have one
  • Something to read or do in case of long waiting tim

When you arrive

On arrival at the Oncology and Haematology Centre, please report to the Main Reception Desk, where your personal details will be checked and your arrival recorded on the computer. They will also look on the computer to see if you need a blood test as part of appointment. If you do, you will be asked to take a numbered ticket and watch the screen for your number to appear. If you are visually impaired, please let reception know so they can help. When your number appears you may go to the phlebotomy room, reception will be able to direct you. After having your blood test you will be directed to where your weight, and sometimes your height, is measured. This is recorded within your electronic health records. Once all this has been done you will be asked to take a seat again in the waiting area and from here you will be called through to see the Doctor.

Waiting area

The waiting area is often very busy with a large number of people waiting to see their Doctor. When seeing a Doctor we try as far as possible to give all patients as long as they need for their consultation but this can sometimes lead to delays. We hope you understand this.

Any delays in clinic will be shown on the plasma screens in the main waiting area, or by asking reception staff. If these are long you may want to take the opportunity to visit the Macmillan Cancer Information and Support Service based in the Information Pod (MCISS). The MCISS provides a calm and safe space for a listening ear, offering support, advice and signposting to many differing supportive services. Anyone can drop in, no appointment is necessary.

Open Mon-Fri 08.30-16.30, closed bank holidays.

Maggie’s Centre also provides cancer support, information and a quiet space to have a cup of tea. The centre is about a 10-15min walk away or - simply ask at reception and a free shuttle bus will come and collect you. If you are worried about missing your appointment, please leave your mobile number with reception and they will call you when the delay has improved.

Open Mon-Fri 09.00-17.00, closed bank holidays.

Hot drinks and snacks are available from the WRVS outlet in the waiting area.

Open Mon-Thursday 09.30-15.00 and Fri 09.30-12.00.

How will I know when it is my appointment?

Your name will be called by a member of the clinic team you are booked to see and they will take you through into clinic. You will be shown into a room where the Doctor will come and meet you.

Your appointment with the Doctor

During this appointment you will have the opportunity to ask any questions or discuss any concerns you may have about any aspect of your disease or its treatment.

Some patients find it helpful to bring a relative or friend with them to offer support.

It is sometimes difficult to remember all the information discussed in your consultation and some people find it useful to bring a paper and pen to make notes to assist their memory or to prepare specific questions before their consultation.

During your consultation the Doctor may talk about particular types of treatment. If you would like more information on anything discussed, please ask the person you are seeing to provide you with written information or other details of other resources for further information. You may also feel you need time to think before making a decision, in this case, please just ask for this to happen.

During this consultation it is also common for the Doctor to perform a physical examination and so you may be asked to lie on an examination couch in order for this to happen. A chaperone will be in attendance during physical examinations.

Please could you bring with you a list of all the medicines that you are taking.

After your consultation

The Doctor will make a request for your next appointment on the computer. Before leaving the Centre, return to the reception desk and they will confirm the date and time of this appointment. They can also make adjustments if the date set is not convenient for you.


If any medication has been prescribed in this consultation you may be required to take your prescription to the outpatient pharmacy, to be prepared and dispensed. For directions please ask at reception. If you already possess an exemption certificate it is a good idea to bring it with you. If you do not have an exemption certificate, please ask the Doctor to organize this for you; alternatively, your GP can also provide one.


If it is decided at your consultation that you will need to have chemotherapy, your Doctor will place a request with the administrative teams to schedule your treatment. You will be informed of the time and location of this first appointment by your specialist team. Further appointments will be given to you by the team where you will be receiving your treatment. If you use MyChart, you can access your appointment schedules there also.

There may be an opportunity prior to starting treatment for you to visit the area you’ll be receiving it and meet some of the staff who will be looking after you. You could request this via your specialist nurse.

It is rare that treatment is given for the first time on the same day as your consultation. However, if it did need to happen, your treating team would give you an estimate of how long you would likely need to be in the hospital for this. If there are considerable waiting times, you can leave the department and use other facilities in the hospital such as the Main Concourse or Outpatients Hall. Alternatively, you may want to take the opportunity to visit the Macmillan Cancer Information and Support Service based in the Information Pod or Maggie’s Centre. We would ask you to leave to contact details with us so that we can call when your treatment is ready.

Patient privacy and dignity

We are committed to treating all patients with privacy and dignity in a safe, clean and comfortable environment.

Staff will always do their best to respect your privacy and dignity, e.g. consultation will take place in a private room.

If you have any concerns about your privacy and dignity, we are here to help. Please let us know by speaking to a member of staff who will take action to resolve any issues.

Other information

Within most clinics there is a clinical specialist nurse or radiographer who specialises in the cancer site you are being seen for. At your first appointment you should be given their name and contact details. This person will be your key worker during your treatment.

If you have any comments, concerns or suggestions you would like to make – please feel free to fill in a comment card available in the Reception Area.

For general enquiries regarding appointments, please phone the reception team on 01223 216552.

Privacy and Dignity

Same sex bays and bathrooms are offered in all wards except critical care and theatre recovery areas where the use of high-tech equipment and / or specialist one to one care is required.

We are smoke-free

Smoking is not allowed anywhere on the hospital campus. For advice and support in quitting, contact your GP or the free NHS stop smoking helpline on 0800 169 0 169.

Other formats

Help accessing this information in other formats is available. To find out more about the services we provide, please visit our patient information help page (see link below) or telephone 01223 256998.

Contact us

Cambridge University Hospitals
NHS Foundation Trust
Hills Road, Cambridge

Telephone +44 (0)1223 245151