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Ambulatory Oncology Care Unit (AOCU)

What is the Ambulatory Oncology Care Unit (AOCU)?

The AOCU is:

  • A day case area for patients requiring urgent assessment, monitoring or treatment for problems related to their cancer or cancer treatment;
  • Open 09:00 to 17:00 (last admission at 15:00), Monday to Friday, excluding public holidays;
  • Specifically for patients currently receiving treatment at St George’s, or within 6 weeks of treatment;
  • Staffed by Oncology Nurse Practitioners with medical back-up as required.

Dalisay Domingo, ANP

The AOCU is not:

  • A drop-in service – please phone our advice line first.
  • An overnight stay area. If you need to stay in hospital, you will be admitted from AOCU to an inpatient ward.
  • An assessment unit for non-cancer and non-treatment related conditions, e.g. falls, acute chest pain, bleeding, OR unstable unwell patients. These patients will continue to attend their local Emergency Department.


Who can use this service?

This service is available to any St George’s Hospital patient who has cancer and is currently receiving chemotherapy, radiotherapy or immunotherapy.


What if I am not feeling well?

If you have had chemotherapy or other anti-cancer treatment and have any of the below symptoms, you should URGENTLY call the AOCU team on 0783 114 7653.

  1. Mouth ulcers that reduce the amount you can eat or drink
  2. Nausea that is not controlled with your anti-sickness medication
  3. Vomiting on more than one occasion
  4. A rash
  5. A swollen limb
  6. Worsening of pre-existing breathlessness
  7. Gum or nose bleeds or unusual bruising
  8. Pain that is not controlled with your pain medication
  9. Constipation, cough or problems passing urine
  10. Sudden shortness of breath
  11. A fever (temperature above 38°C)
  12. Shivering episodes
  13. Flu-like symptoms
  14. Diarrhoea
  15. You feel very unwell.

Please note: for numbers 10-13, you will likely be instructed to attend your nearest A&E.


What do I need to do?

You can contact us on 0783 114 7653 at any time. If the phone is not answered, please leave a message stating your name, hospital number and the problem you’re experiencing. A nurse will try to return your call as soon as possible.

If you have received treatment in the Trevor Howell Day Unit, you should have been given an Acute Oncology Alert Card (or ‘yellow card’) with this contact number. If you have not received this card, please ask your nurse for one.


What happens if I need to be seen?

If you need to be seen, you may be asked to attend the AOCU, your GP or your nearest A&E.


What will happen when I come to AOCU?

AOCU is located within Gordon-Smith Ward on the third floor of Lanesborough Wing of St George’s Hospital.

You will be asked to come to the unit for assessment or treatment from 09:00-15:00. If you call after 15:00, you might be asked to go to A&E or come to AOCU the following morning.

When you come to AOCU, you will be seen and assessed by the team, and might have investigations done (e.g. blood tests, X-ray, etc.). Depending on the results of the assessment or investigation you might stay for the day for treatment and/or monitoring.

If needed, you might be admitted from AOCU for a stay in hospital.


Who are the AOCU team?

The main members of the team are:

Dalisay Domingo-Navallo, AOCU Advanced Nurse Practitioner

Jessica Emilianou, AOCU Clinical Nurse Specialist

Amelia Mannerings, AOCU Co-ordinator

Louise Breeze, AOS Clinical Nurse Specialist

Dr Mehran Afshar, AOS/AOCU Consultant Oncologist

Dr Stefania Redana, AOCU Consultant Oncologist

Dr Fiona McCarthy, AOS/AOCU Consultant Oncologist

Dr Tim Benepal, AOS/AOCU Consultant Oncologist

Dr Mazhar Ajaz, AOCU Consultant Oncologist