Acute Oncology Service and Assessment Unit

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This leaflet provides information on the Acute Oncology Service at Milton Keynes University Hospital. Our team is sometimes referred to as AOS.

What is the Acute Oncology Service?

The Acute Oncology Services role is to advise and support patients via the telephone (1090 Bleep) who are feeling unwell at home or need urgent advice. To advise colleagues regarding the investigation and diagnosis of potential new cancers. To review patients who are unwell or admitted as an emergency as a result of:

– Side effects of anti-cancer treatment (Chemotherapy, Radiotherapy, Immunotherapy).

– Complications from a known cancer.

– Complications from a cancer where the primary is not known.

The Acute Oncology Team usually sees and manages patients Mon – Fri, 8am-5pm. Contact us via the hospital switchboard Telephone 01908 660033 bleep 1090.

During the above hours you may be asked to attend the Acute Oncology Assessment Unit for review by the team. The assessment unit is not a drop-in clinic and operates Monday to Friday only. In some circumstances it will still be necessary to send certain patients to be reviewed in the Emergency Department (ED) or by other clinical teams.

Out of hours and at weekends the Acute Oncology bleep is held by an experienced chemotherapy nurse on Ward 25 who will be able to advise you over the telephone. This may include self – management, visiting your GP, Urgent Care Centre or attending your nearest ED regardless of where you receive your treatment. You should take with you, your most recent hospital treatment letter, chemotherapy booklet and Sepsis ALERT card.

Please bear in mind that if we are with a patient, we may not be able to answer your call immediately. Please call back or contact your Specialist Cancer Nurse.

If you are unwell

If you are unwell or have a temperature, you should telephone the AOS bleep (1090) for advice. An Acute Oncology nurse or Ward 25 nurse will answer and will assess your symptoms and advise you accordingly. If you are admitted to hospital you must not continue to take any oral chemotherapy medication until after you have been reviewed by a member of the Acute Oncology team.

If you are unwell or have a temperature it is important that you take this seriously and take appropriate action. Do not ignore warning signs of infection or side effects of your treatment. To do so may have serious consequences.

The Acute Oncology Assessment Unit or Emergency Department will assess you and if you have a temperature and are suspected to have an infection they will aim to administer antibiotics within a 1hour time frame. The Emergency Department is very busy and deals with many other patients and Specialties that also have priorities regarding emergency treatment. It is not necessary to be in a side room whilst being assessed in ED. If appropriate you will be given a side room when you are on the ward.

If you are admitted to another hospital you should ask the ward Doctors to contact us. We can help provide up to date, relevant information to the Doctors treating you.

What happens after you have been admitted?

After one of the Acute Oncology Team has seen you as an inpatient, we will inform your cancer specialist team of your admission and update them and act on any advice given by the team.

Whilst you are an in-patient, the doctors and nurses on your ward will continue to be in charge of your day to day care with the support of your cancer specialist team. Your cancer specialist team is the team that specialises in treating your specific type of cancer (ie: Lung) and may involve your Respiratory Consultant, Clinical Nurse Specialist, Surgeon, Oncologist or Palliative Care Team for example.

The Oncology/Haematology Team will assess inpatients and determine those in greatest clinical need for transfer to Ward 25 as beds become available. It is not necessary for all cancer patients to be admitted to Ward 25. It may be most appropriate for you to be admitted to another specialty ward such as respiratory, gastrointestinal or surgical ward.

The Acute Oncology Team does not replace your cancer specialist team and you should continue to discuss your care and be supported by your Advanced Nurse Practitioner (ANP) also known as a Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS) and your Doctors.

What are the aims of the Acute Oncology Service?

  • To work collaboratively with yourself and the ward.
  • To provide expert clinical advice to healthcare professionals looking after you while you are in hospital as an inpatient.
  • Communicate with your cancer specialist team at Milton Keynes or at the hospital you are being treated.
  • Provide advice to help manage your side effects and on the investigation and management of other problems caused by your cancer.
  • To improve the quality of care and ensure appropriate tests in a timely manner.
  • To keep you and your family informed of the management plan and provide necessary support.
  • To ensure appropriate care and referral to specialists when needed.
  • To coordinate the investigation, diagnosis and treatment of Metastatic Spinal Cord Compression (MSCC).
  • To provide professional support and advice

How else can we help you?

Whilst you are an in-patient it may be necessary to rearrange your treatment and clinic appointments. We can help you with this when your discharge date is known. We can provide you and your family with support and information that may help you decide about your care and treatment. We can refer you to other colleagues who may be able to help support you and your recovery.

Links with other teams and hospitals:

The Acute Oncology Team act as a link between your cancer treating Doctors/Clinical Trials teams where you receive your treatment and with other departments and services in the hospital, community and hospice to provide continuity and high quality care for Acute Oncology patients. If you are on a research trial, please inform us.

Where can I get more information and support?

Contact your Specialist Cancer Nurse

Macmillan Cancer Information & Support suite Telephone: 01908 996563 Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS) [email protected]: 01908 995954

Macmillan Cancer Support Telephone: 0808 808 00 00

How to contact us: