Critical Care Unit

The Critical Care Unit (CCU) at our hospital in Chelsea is the largest cancer critical care facility in the United Kingdom and one of the biggest in Europe.

The Critical Care Unit (CCU) at our hospital in Chelsea opened in August 2010. It is one of the largest cancer critical care facilities in the United Kingdom and Europe.

The 16 beds in the CCU are equipped with state-of-the-art facilities. There are seven isolation rooms, including two dedicated teenage and young adult rooms, a fully interfaced clinical information system and high-end patient entertainment facilities. Patients are frequently admitted following major surgery or for the management of underlying health conditions, cancer or cancer-related treatment. The CCU admits on average 1,400 patients a year and has one of the best survival rates for cancer critical care patients in the country.

There is a two-bed Step-Up facility at our Sutton hospital where patients at risk of organ failure are transferred for intensive physiological monitoring and resuscitative care. Patients requiring ongoing support are then transferred to our Chelsea hospital using mobile intensive care facilities.

Following discharge from the CCU, patients continue to be followed up by the Critical Care Outreach Team to enable a smooth and safe transfer to more traditional ward-based care. Patients who are discharged from hospital after critical care are routinely invited to the Critical Care Follow-up Clinic.

The visiting times for the Critical Care Unit are 11:00am-12:30am and 2:00pm-8:00pm. Should you need to visit outside of these times, please discuss this with one of the CCU Sisters, Charge Nurses or the Coordinator. If a patient is very unwell or unstable, accommodation for relatives can often be arranged locally. We ask that only two visitors are present at a patient’s bedside at any one time to allow staff to provide the care required.


An exciting research programme is being developed which aims to increase our understanding of the effects of different medicines and intensive care treatments on the immune system and cancer. We hope in the future this might help improve the outcomes of patients suffering from malignant diseases who are admitted to intensive care units for the treatment of organ failure.

Critical care medical team

The critical care medical team consists of intensive care consultants and a combination of anaesthetic specialist registrars, intensive care medicine specialist registrars and Foundation Year 2 trainees. The department has an excellent team ethos and has regular weekly multidisciplinary team meetings to enhance patient care.

The Unit is accredited for intensive care medicine training by the Faculty of Intensive Care Medicine.

Critical care nursing team

The team of over 90 critical care nurses are specifically trained in cancer critical care, and are led by the critical care clinical nurse lead.

Nursing staff and clinicians have an excellent relationship, particularly at the patient's bedside.

The environment is exciting and supportive, and facilitates the development of specialised oncology and intensive care nursing skills. The aim is to provide the very best technical and emotionally competent nursing care possible.  

Critical care multidisciplinary team

The wider multidisciplinary team includes a dedicated critical care pharmacist, a dietitian, a team of physiotherapists, speech and language therapists, a medical microbiologist, symptom control team and complementary therapies.

If you or your relative has been a patient of the unit and you have any questions, please email us at

Please note the inbox will only be monitored every 48 hours.

For further information

To find out more about the Critical Care Unit, contact Margaret Pietrzyk, Critical Care Clinical Nurse Lead, at


Supported by The Royal Marsden Cancer Charity 

Supporters of The Royal Marsden Cancer Charity contributed to the £10 million cost of the CCU.

Your support helps us make a vital difference to the lives of cancer patients.

The Royal Marsden, Fulham Road, London SW3 6JJ