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Cancer Services

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About us

One of the driving forces behind the development of the Oxford Cancer and Haematology Centre was the need to replace the outdated buildings that housed the Department of Clinical Oncology, Radiotherapy and Medical Physics for nearly 60 years.

The Non-surgical Oncology Department of the Oxford University Hospitals (predominantly radiotherapy and chemotherapy) is now housed with Clinical Haematology under one roof. This is more convenient for patients, and means that expert teams of medical staff and specialist nurses can work more closely together providing joint review of patients.

Clinical Oncology, Radiotherapy and Medical Physics

The Radiotherapy Department is equipped with specialised planning and treatment facilities to enable the delivery of state-of-the-art therapy. The therapy radiography staff work together with consultant clinicians and nurse practitioners to ensure optimal treatment and care is delivered to all patients. The Radiotherapy Department is supported by medical physicists and technologists.

The Clinical Oncology Team also provides chemotherapy treatments as well as radiotherapy. Clinical oncologists visit neighbouring district general hospitals to provide a chemotherapy service for patients nearer to home.

Medical Oncology

The Medical Oncology team provides chemotherapy and other drug treatments for patients. The consultant team has strong links with the University of Oxford and Cancer Research UK, and is a base for world-leading research in the field, so that patients have rapid access to a wide range of new treatments.


The Day Treatment Unit is for patients undergoing chemotherapy and other procedures with the Oncology and Haematology services. It is next to the Outpatient Department.

The Unit is now providing an extended service, enabling a larger group of patients to be treated in the day treatment setting rather than being admitted overnight.

The team works closely with the Vascular Access Service, who place peripherally inserted central catheters, and home care teams, who organise treatment to be delivered to, or given in, the patient's home; the team is also supported by specialist pharmacists.

Oxford Triage Service

The Triage Assessment Team is a specialist nursing team, skilled and competent in haematology and oncology triage for patients receiving treatment. This ensures appropriate and consistent advice is given, allowing for the early recognition of potential emergencies, treatment complications and the provision of a follow-up structure for high risk patient groups. This has had a positive impact on the efficiency of emergency care within cancer services with improved support to patients.

Acute Oncology Team

The Acute Oncology Team offers support and clinical review to patients with an acute oncology problem admitted to an acute ward in the John Radcliffe Hospital or Horton General Hospital. They advise medical and nursing teams in the management of these patients, and liaise closely with other cancer Clinical Nurse Specialists (CNS) and the Palliative Care team.

The service is covered by acute Oncology Consultants, providing twice-weekly oncology ward rounds, and Monday to Friday cover from a nurse practitioner.

Psycho-Oncology Team

We offer a dedicated Consultant Liaison Psychiatrist-led service for all Haematology and Oncology patients.

The team includes Care Managers (Cancer Specialist Nurses and Occupational Therapists with special training in diagnosing and talking therapy) and Consultant Liaison Psychiatrists, and we see patients in Oncology Outpatients.

We deliver a collaborative care programme, with universal screening and a multi-component intervention for treatment of depression - Depression Care for People with Cancer (DCPC).

We screen all patients from Oxfordshire for physical and psychological distress at every medical and clinical oncology review through their patient journey, and they can see a Consultant Psychiatrist or have DCPC treatment within eight weeks from time of screening.


There are two components to depression screening in the collaborative care programme, followed by treatment.

  • Depression screening
    We send patients an email or text message with a link to an MS Forms questionnaire before their oncology review. Patients can also complete the questionnaire over the telephone.
  • Telephone diagnostic interviews
    These are based on the major depression section of the Structured Clinical Interview for the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders and generally take 15 minutes.


Patients diagnosed with depression are reviewed by a Liaison Psychiatrist for consideration of DCPC if appropriate.

Treatment includes both antidepressant medication and talking therapy, because there is evidence that a combined approach is most effective. We see patients for up to ten sessions either at the Oxford Cancer Centre or via video link.

Care Managers:

  • establish a therapeutic relationship and a shared understanding of symptoms of depression and cancer with patients
  • discuss antidepressant medication with patients
  • offer talking therapy: behavioural activation and problem-solving therapy
  • monitor patients' symptoms of depression at each treatment session
  • liaise with primary care and any other relevant health professionals.

If a patient is not suitable for, or does not want, DCPC, the Psychiatrist will review their existing mental health support and coordinate this with their GP / community mental health trust, or offer psychiatric outpatient follow-up at the Oxford Cancer Centre.

Our Psychiatrists advise Oncologists and primary care physicians about psychiatric aspects of care, including medication, and provide direct consultations where needed. Patients at high risk are cared for promptly alongside their cancer treatment.

We also care for patients with cognitive difficulties linked to brain tumours, conditions such as Parkinson's and Alzheimer's, alcohol and substance dependence, eating disorders, personality disorders and severe mental illness such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, linking with allied health professionals,community mental health teams and charities to ensure continuity of follow-up.

The team works with local charities including:

Thames Valley Cancer Alliance Psycho-oncology Mapping Report 2023

The report steering group maps psychological medicine services in oncology in the Thames Valley, including the Oxford Cancer Centre.

The report is a resource for patients and their families, clinicians and commissioners of services. It highlights areas of good practice and integrated physical and mental healthcare.

Psycho-oncology Mapping Report 2023 - Thames Valley Cancer Alliance

Psycho-oncology Mapping Report 2023 Appendices - Thames Valley Cancer Alliance

Find us and contact us

University of Oxford / Cancer Research UK Department of Medical Oncology

Tel: 01865 235185


Last reviewed:14 November 2023