Find out what to expect when you come to hospital for your appointment with the blood cancer service.

Before your appointment

You are welcome to bring a relative, close friend or carer with you to your appointment. You are also welcome to ask for a chaperone and we will endeavour to provide one for you.

When you come to your first appointment, please bring any medications you are currently taking. Please also remember to check your appointment letter for anything specific you have been asked to take with you. In addition, it would be helpful if you could bring the following:

  • Your full address and telephone number(s)
  • Your appointment card and appointment letter
  • Your GP’s name and address
  • Money to pay for any prescriptions, or an exemption card
  • A list of questions you may want to ask your consultant

During your appointment

Please note that we are a teaching hospital, so medical students may be present for some appointments. If you do not wish to have them in the room please let the nurse or doctor know and the students will be asked to step outside.

Patients can expect to wait one hour before being seen by a clinician. However, patients will have their blood taken by a phlebotomist during this time. New appointments are generally 45 minutes. Follow-up appointments are 15 minutes.

If you have been referred to our service by your GP, it is because he or she suspects that there may be some kind of abnormality with your blood and further investigation is required. You will most likely be seen in one of our ‘triage’ clinics, where our doctors will try to make a diagnosis and quickly as possible and either treat and discharge you or refer you to one of our more specialised clinics.

At your first appointment, you will be seen by one of our doctors who may need to conduct further tests. These are likely to be blood tests, but may also include x-rays or other imaging. In some cases a biopsy of your bone marrow or lymph nodes may be required. Your doctor will tell you what they are looking for, and what the tests are aiming to establish. You will then have a follow-up appointment to review the results and identify the best treatment for you, if any is required.

All patients who have previously been seen in the department should expect to be given a blood test before they appointment so it is recommended that they turn up 30 minutes before their appointment to have this done.

After your appointment

You will receive a copy of the clinic letter containing all the relevant results. The time taken for a result to be issued varies greatly, depending on the type of test. Some tests, for example a full blood count, are available within two to 48 hours, however some tests can take five days. We may also need to refer more specialised tests to other laboratories. Many results, including most blood tests, will be available within seven days.

Results of haematology tests are usually sent electronically, directly to the GP or consultant who made the request. A hard copy of the report will be sent to the GP if no electronic link is available. Laboratories can only provide results to a healthcare professional involved in your treatment and cannot give results directly to you or a family member. If you need to know the result or have a query, please contact your GP or hospital consultant directly.

Patient passport

Some of our patients are issued access card ‘passports’ for our service. If you require urgent advice about your condition, please refer to the relevant phone number in your passport.

Stem cell transplant: patients reflect on their transplant journey

Gill Brisley, clinical nurse specialist, and Troy Chase, clinical psychologist, from the haematology team at Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust created this film to help patients, their families and carers understand the many ways people experience and cope with blood cancers.