Information specific to day care appointments

What is day care?

Day care is for patients who need more prolonged treatment or investigations than outpatients, but who do not need to stay in the hospital overnight.

If you are a day care patient, you will need to spend part or all day at the hospital. This may be for surgery, where you will be looked after on the inpatient ward or in a surgical day care area or for non‑surgical, such as chemotherapy, on the Private Patient Medical Day Unit.

Day care endoscopy is provided at Chelsea

The ward or clinic you have been attending will book your day care appointment and will try to arrange a date and time that suits you.

Remember that you might need to visit more than one department on the same day.

About the Private Patient Medical Day Units (PPMDU)

The Royal Marsden’s dedicated Private Patient Medical Day Units (PPMDUs) provide day care services to patients in a comfortable and modern environment. You may attend a unit for a number of reasons, such as: chemotherapy, blood transfusions, blood tests, injections and other intravenous therapies.

The PPMDU has a dedicated team of doctors who are available throughout the day to give you medical support and advice. The unit also has an on‑site oncology‑trained pharmacist and technician, who can answer questions about your medication.

If your appointment is not on the PPMDU you will receive information from the relevant department on what to do before your arrival.

Other day care services, which are offered outside our PPMDU, include: radiotherapy, endoscopy and day surgery.

Before your first chemotherapy treatment

At the end of your initial outpatient consultation and before you begin chemotherapy treatment in the PPMDU, we will offer you a pre‑treatment appointment. This is a chance to meet the nursing staff and our ward pharmacist, view the unit and ask any questions you may have about your treatment. Many patients find this very helpful. We recommend it for any patient starting a new course of treatment.

During your visit

The length of time that you spend in the unit depends on the type of tests, assessment, treatment preparation and treatment you need.

On arrival at Sutton PPMDU

On the day of your treatment, please report to the reception at the PPMDU. This is on the first floor of the West Wing, Robert Tiffany ward.

On arrival at Chelsea PPMDU

On the day of your treatment please report to the reception at the PPMDU on the third floor of Wallace Wing. There is dedicated lift access to the private unit from the ground floor next to the Wallace Wing reception area.

When you arrive for treatment you will be greeted by your nurse for that day, who will give you a number of checks. You will have these checks each time you visit before your treatment begins. The nurse will:

  • Take a blood test
  • Measure your height and weight
  • Carry out an assessment of your medical history (first visit) or your treatment progress (subsequent visits).

You will then be reviewed by a doctor who will confirm that you are well enough to receive your planned treatment.

If it is your first visit or if you are having a change of treatment, we will give you information about your treatment and ask you to sign a consent form.

Chemotherapy treatment

The preparation of most chemotherapy treatments can take up to two to three hours from the time that your blood test results are confirmed.

If it’s likely to take longer we will keep you fully informed so you know how long you should expect to wait.

To help make your treatment as comfortable as possible, we recommend wearing loose‑fitting clothes with sleeves that can be easily rolled up.

Not all chemotherapy treatments cause hair loss, but for those patients who may lose hair there is scalp cooling treatment available to reduce this. Scalp cooling will add to the length of your visit and if you opt for this you will need to bring a mirror and comb so that you can style your hair afterwards.

If you prefer not to wait, it may be possible for you to have your blood test and review by the doctor, and then return the next day for treatment. Please discuss any queries with the nurse in charge.

Friends and family

You are welcome to bring a friend or family member with you on the day of your treatment. However, for the comfort and privacy of all patients, we ask that you bring only one companion per visit.

Food and drink

Our catering staff will provide you with a light lunch, together with refreshments and snacks throughout your stay. Hot drinks are available for your companion, but we cannot provide visitors with lunch. Food is available for visitors in designated areas around the hospital.

After your treatment

When your treatment has finished, your nurse will give you any medication you need to take home with you. To help your medical team monitor your medication, we will ask you to keep a record of any after‑effects in the days following each cycle of chemotherapy. You should bring this record with you to your next appointment.

Before you go home, please check with the ward clerk that your next appointment has been booked and that you have the details written in your appointment card.

We will also give you any information you need to know about the possible side‑effects of your treatment. This will include details of what to do and who to contact if you feel unwell.


If you feel unwell between visits, please call:
Sutton 020 8915 6670Monday to Friday: 8.30am to 8pm

Chelsea 020 7811 8092Monday to Friday: 8.30am to 8pmOut of hours switchboard 020 8642 6011