Sussex Cancer Centre

Chemotherapy Bookings and Contact

How long will my chemotherapy take? (Waiting times) 

The chemotherapy unit is open Monday to Friday 8am to 7pm. The first treatment appointment on a Monday - Wednesday is 10am, we complete information giving sessions between 8:30 and 10am. Thurs 8:30am, Friday 9:30am. 

The time allocated for your appointment is the time you need to check in with our reception staff. We understand that people like to be early and that parking can be a worry, but we ask you not to arrive too early as this will increase your waiting time in hospital. There are cafes within the hospital or in the local area if you would like to arrive early and relax before treatment. 

On occasion we may ask you to come into the unit early to have your bloods repeated the nursing team will always try and phone you to request this, so please make sure your details are up-to-date for your peace of mind. This will add waiting time onto your day but we will keep you updated.

All chemotherapy drugs are prepared in sterile ‘aseptic’ conditions for each individual person. This is a time consuming process which requires extreme care and the technical skills of highly trained pharmacy staff. Unfortunately there can be unexpected and unavoidable delays in the process and this means that the time you spend waiting can sometimes be longer than either you or we would like. We hope that you will understand that because safety is absolutely vital, such delays cannot always be avoided.  

Your chemotherapy nurse will explain to you how long you will need to allow for your treatment bearing in mind that your appointment time is actually your ‘check in time’ and is not the time that your chemotherapy will actually commence.

There may be times when you see other patients being called in for treatment when they do not appear to have been waiting as long as you. This may be because they have come to the unit for another reason or their drugs have taken less time to prepare.

A few tips

Try to free your day from any other appointments or commitments outside of the hospital.
Try to arrange any childcare so that you are free from worry if you are delayed.

You are welcome to bring a friend or relative with you and there is room for them to sit with you during your treatment if you wish. However to be fair to all patients we do ask that only one person is with you for the actual time that you are having treatment. 

We ask that you do not bring young children or babies into the unit as it is not a safe environment for children to be, if you have any concerns regarding childcare please speak to one of the nursing team who will be happy to reallocate your appointments where possible. 

Please ensure you bring all your other medication with you whilst receiving chemotherapy, especially any pain relief. If you have concerns about taking your tablets with the chemotherapy the nurse looking after you will be able to advise. Please bring your medical exemption certificate with you each time you come to the Royal Sussex County Hospital.

We recommend you bring some entertainment as it can be a long day. Most of the chairs fully recline allowing you to sleep, we have blankets and pillows to make you as comfortable as possible. 

We would encourage you to bring in laptops/ipads/kindles etc, we only ask that you bring headphones to prevent disruption to other patients. We have DVD players and radios in the unit so you can watch a film here. The mobile phone reception in the unit is quite poor due to the lining of the walls but they will work in most areas. 

You may use your mobile phone in the hospital but please keep calls to a minimum so not to disturb other patients.


We have tea and coffee facilities and a water fountain for your use. There is also a fridge and a microwave for you to store and heat up food. We encourage you to eat and drink as normally as you can whilst in the unit.  There is also a WRVS shop on the ground floor of the Sussex Cancer Centre. This shop is staffed by volunteers and so opening times may vary. Generally the shop is open from 9am until early afternoon. When the WRVS shop is closed there is a vending machine available on the ground floor. There is also a cafe at the main entrance to the Hospital that sells food and drinks, and a small shop that sells a reduced range of products. There is a canteen on site and local shops and cafes near to the hospital.

Complementary Therapies

Complementary therapies such as massage, relaxation techniques, hypnotherapy and counselling are available at the Sussex Cancer Centre. Please ask your Chemotherapy Nurse for more details. We are pleased to be able to offer you free services within the Cancer centre; we have volunteers who do massage in the chemotherapy unit, relaxation, meditation and hypnotherapy clinics available for all to access. Also if require we can refer you to our counselling service for patients and carers. Please ask a chemotherapy nurse for further information.

The chemotherapy unit also welcomes pets as therapy dog in the unit on some Tuesdays, if you would prefer not to see the dog please let a member of staff know on your arrival.

Clean hands saves lives!

This hospital is committed to keeping patients safe and healthy. You can help to stop infections spreading by cleaning your hands before and after visiting the hospital. Simply use the hygienic hand rub dispensers which are placed on the walls throughout the hospital.  Feel free to remind visitors, patients and healthcare staff to clean their hands. We welcome your help in keeping our hospital safe.



Chemotherapy Reception/
Nursing Staff 

01273 696955  Ext: 4799