Arriving, waiting times and tests

This information will help prepare you for when to arrive for your appointments, how long you may have to wait and what tests may be required.

Attending for the first time

For your first appointment at The Royal Marsden please arrive 30 minutes before your appointment time so that you can register at the Registration Office. Once this is done you will be directed to the Outpatient Department.

The Registration Office at Chelsea is located in the entrance of Wallace Wing. The Registration Office at Sutton is located at the reception desk in the main foyer.

On your first visit the nurse may record your height and weight and take a nose swab for MRSA screening.

Attending further appointments

When you arrive, please report to the Outpatients reception desk. After checking in you can take a seat in the waiting area.

How long will I have to wait?

On your first appointment please allow up to four hours for your appointment, as you may require blood tests and other diagnostic tests to be completed before seeing the doctor.

We try to make sure that patients are seen by a doctor at the time of their appointment, or at least within 30 minutes of that time.

Sometimes emergencies can mean that patients are seen out of turn and delays occur. If this happens, our staff will keep you informed about what's happening and how long you may have to wait. If you feel you have been kept waiting without an explanation please ask a member of staff. Arriving early for an appointment does not necessarily mean you will be seen early.

We continually monitor our waiting times. You can see details of our performance in reducing waiting times in the outpatient waiting areas.

Do you require interpreting services?

If English is not your first language and you would like the assistance of an interpreter we can organise this for you.

If your appointment is in Chelsea please ring 020 7808 2464.
If your appointment is in Sutton please ring 020 8661 3430.

Please note that we prefer to use professional interpreters, not relatives or friends. We never allow children to act as interpreters.


You may need to have some tests. Certain tests can be carried out on the same day but for other tests, for example a scan, an additional appointment may be required. You will be guided by the nurses in the clinic.

In some clinics the doctors request patients to have blood tests before they are seen. If this is a requirement of your clinic you will be given two appointments, the first for the blood test and the second approximately 90 minutes later when the results will be available for the doctor to discuss with you.

Please ensure that you arrive on time for your blood test other wise there could be a delay in seeing the doctor.