Oncology and Haematology

Oncology and Haematology

Our paediatric oncology and haematology team works together to care for more than 120 children and young people with cancer, every year.

The oncology unit is based in Ward 3B at Alder Hey. We have a clinic and day care department, an inpatient area for children and a teenage unit for young people aged 13-18. In total we have nine patient bedrooms with en-suite facilities and a sofa bed for a parent to stay overnight, plus a four-bed room. Our day care department has ten beds/chair spaces and two of these are in the teenage unit. We also have two stem cell Transplant Suites where patients are nursed in isolation.

At Alder Hey we have a strong committment to research. Many medical improvements in the treatment of children’s cancers happen because families were willing to take part in research. Without research we cannot develop better cures and better ways of caring. We may ask families if they would be willing to take part in a clinical trial as part of our research. Please note patients and families are under no obligation to take part in a clinical trial if you do not want to.

Important information about treatment and care

We realise this is likely to be a worrying and confusing time for your family, with lots to think about. We will give you a booklet called a Family Held Record. It has lots of important information about what to expect when you are visiting us, support we can offer and general information about treatment plans, tests we might have to do and things to look out for.

Our team will sit down with you and go through the information, but it is a booklet you should keep hold of and use as a reference guide. You can also download a copy here:

Contact Us

  • Oncology Reception – 0151 252 5804
  • Oncology Inpatients – 0151 252 5212
  • Oncology Day Care – 0151 293 3684
  • Clinical Trials Office – 0151 252 5971
  • Teenage Cancer Trust – 0151 293 3562

Further information

Your child's medical team

All our patients are under the care of a Consultant Paediatric Oncologist or a Consultant PaediatricHaematologist. These are doctors who specialise in the treatment of solid cancers or leukaemia.

Junior doctors will join and leave the medical team as part of their training.

Nursing staff

The nurses are specialised in children’s nursing and oncology/haematology. The Nursing Teamwill have number of student nurses who are at various stages of their training.

Every patient is allocated a nurse for each shift who will work several different shifts. Each shiftbegins with a handover period, this is when the nurses get together to discuss the care of all thepatients.

Key Workers

All patients are allocated a Key Worker at a multidisciplinary meeting (MDT). An MDT meeting iswhen staff come together to agree diagnosis and a treatment plan. The Key Worker is a seniornurse or other healthcare professional.

The Key Worker will introduce themselves to the patientand their family and will provide their contact details. They stay in regular contact with theirpatients throughout treatment and arrange additional support nearer to home if it is needed.

Advanced Nurse Practitioners

Advanced Nurse Practitioners (ANPs) have undertaken additional training which includes clinicalassessment skills and prescribing. They carry out patient examinations, general health checks,order investigations, prescribe medications, make appointment s and plans of care. Patients whocome to Alder Hey for chemotherapy, attend Day Care or some clinics will see an ANP. Theyfollow patients all the way through their treatment so the care is consistent and tailored to apatient’s needs. They help to ensure that care is of the highest possible standard and thosepatients and families are kept informed throughout treatment.

ANPs work 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday and are available to answer queries from patients, families, localhospitals or community staff. You can call them on 0151 252 5799.

Children and Young Person’s Oncology Outreach Nurse Specialists

The Children and Young Person’s Oncology Outreach Nurse Specialists (CYPOONS) are a teamof nurses with specialist knowledge and experience in children and young person’s cancer. .Every child or young person is allocated a CYPOON who will work closely with them and theirfamily to provide specialist care, advice and support.

There are two CYPOONS teams based at Alder Hey caring for children being treated here.One team covers the Merseyside and Cheshire area and Isle of Man. The other team works inpartnership with local services for patients living outside of the above areas.

CYPOONS contact details
  • Alder Hey: 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday (answerphone out of hours) - 0151 252 5408
  • North Wales: Families will be given contact details by their CLIC nurse



Our oncology unit has a dedicated dietetic service which specializes in the nutritional management of children and young people who have cancer.  They offer both inpatient and outpatient support and are available throughout your child’s treatment journey.

Most children and young people with cancer will experience problems with eating and drinking at some stage. Eating well during treatment is really important as this helps children cope better with treatment, fight infection and maintain normal growth and development.

A dietitian can provide advice regarding: 

•    Managing common side effects of treatment such as nausea, taste changes, constipation, diarrhoea and sore mouth.
•    Managing fussy eating or a poor appetite
•    Use of prescription high calorie drinks when appetite is poor
•    Managing tube feeding in hospital and at home 
•    Minimizing excessive weight gain during steroid treatment
•    Transitioning back to healthy eating once intense treatment has finished.
•    Any other nutritional concerns you have

The dietitian is available from Monday to Friday 9am-5pm. An answer machine service is available for non-urgent messages.  If you would like to see the dietitian please ask your nurse or doctor to make a referral. 

Useful links

British Dietetic Associated – food facts leaflets

Helping your child to eat well during cancer treatment


Healthy eating advice

Infant and toddler forum
Evidence-based information and practical tools to support you in making the right choices when feeding toddlers.


Food and other support on the ward

Ward 3B at Alder Hey has its own kitchen and two chefs to support patients during their stay. Our chefs will:

  • Take food orders for patients between 11.30am and 6pm. The last order for Day Care patients is 3.30pm
  • Prepare a meal for one parent or carer on the inpatient ward. Please note there is a charge for this service

Our chefs cannot prepare food that has been brought to theward by parents or carers.

Each day there are snack rounds for patients on the ward. Patients on supplements can receive afeed or supplement and other patients are offered a drink (juice, milkshake) and fruit or a biscuit.

Alder Hey has a fruit and vegetable stall every weekday from 10am to 2pm selling fresh, great value produce. You can find it just outside the hospital entrance close to WH Smith.

Young People’s Social Work Team – Merseyside & Cheshire

This service provides an outreach service for young people diagnosed with cancer who are aged16 to 24 and are treated in Liverpool and Merseyside adult’s hospitals. They provide support toyoung people who are aged 18 at diagnosis and treated at Alder Hey as part of the Teenage andYoung Adult’s Merseyside & Cheshire Multi-disciplinary team.

Ward 3B play service

Play is a physical and mental activity which gives emotional satisfaction and developscommunication skills. Play is extremely important for children of all ages but sometimes ourpatients may lack the will or ability to create suitable play activities for themselves.

Some children develop changes in their behaviour during treatment. Play provided by specialists isimportant to patients and their families in preparing, supporting, recognising and understandingtheir needs during and after treatment.

Play Specialists can provide therapeutic playactivities for children of all ages and abilities.Activity and play programmes are structuredto allow children and young adults to talkabout their feelings and express any fearsthat they may have. Therapies such asrelaxation techniques can be used with greateffect alongside pain therapy to maximiserelief and reduce anxiety. These are alluseful techniques which may be appropriateduring painful or unpleasant procedures.Play Specialists work in partnership withother members of the multi-disciplinary teamto bridge the gap between hospital andhome.

Ward 3B has two Play Specialists and one Play Assistant who provide and supervise playactivities for all patients from 8.30am to 5pm, Monday to Friday. 8.30am -5:00pm. Please note when they are availablePlay Specialists from Ward 3B can provide therapeutic input to our patients on other wards butcannot provide play activities.

Beads of Courage

The Beads of Courage Programme is a new concept being introduced in Alder Hey and otherhospitals in the UK. It is designed to support children going through their treatment. It allows themto tell their story using colourful beads. The beads are used as meaningful symbols of couragethat commemorate different milestones such as blood transfusions, bone marrow transplants,hospital stays, chemotherapy and radiotherapy treatments. Their beads build up over time intoa unique record of what they have experienced.On diagnosis, one of our Play Specialists will explain the programme and give outthe first beads. After this other staff trained on the programme can give outbeads.

CLIC Sargent

CLIC Sargent is the UK’s leading cancer charity for children, young people, and their families.They provide practical and emotional support to help them cope with cancer and get the most outof life. They are there from diagnosis and aim to help the whole family deal with the impact ofcancer. CLIC Sargent Social workers do not meet with families until a definite diagnosis has beenmade.

CLIC Sargent Social Workers tailor their support to suit the needs of families including:

  • Providing emotional and listening supportHelping you to understand and find ways to deal with practical issuesGiving financial support including grants and help you access benefits support and adviceProvide a wide range of information on childhood cancer and its impactHelping children, young people and their families access short breaks or holidays providedby CLIC Sargent and other partner organisationsHelping children and young people keep up with school, college, university, training orworkSupporting parents and young people to liaise with schools, colleges and employers

Teenage Cancer Trust Youth Support Coordinator

The Youth Support Coordinator works with patients who are aged 13 and over when diagnosed orwhilst on treatment - and for up to two years off-treatment.The Youth Support Coordinator will:

  • Provide activities and one-to-one support on Ward 3B
  • Support the monthly peer support group
  • Organise and assist with many residential opportunities
  • Offer opportunities for teenagers and young adults to get involved in shaping our services

Oncology/Haematology Pharmacy Service

Alder Hey Children’s NHS Foundation Trust is a Principal Treatment Centre (PTC) treating children and teenagers with cancer.

The PTC works in collaboration with a network of local shared care hospitals called Paediatric Oncology Shared Care Units (POSCUs) so that appropriate elements of treatment and supportive care can be given closer to the patient’s home.

The Pharmacy Department at Alder Hey is responsible for all medicines produced and dispensed to outpatients, day patients and inpatients.

Our pharmacists and technical staff

Ward 3B has a dedicated pharmacy service provided by pharmacy staff based on the ward.

The pharmacists on Ward 3B specialise in the treatment of children and teenagers with cancer. They work as part of the clinical team and have developed detailed knowledge of the medicines used in the treatment of cancer.

They are responsible for ensuring that correct medicines are prescribed, devising and supervising treatment protocols for patients and providing information about medicines to staff and patients.

Pharmacy technicians and assistants play a vital role working alongside the pharmacists. They prepare and dispense medicines under the supervision of a pharmacist. Many of the medicines dispensed are unusual or not readily available and these are prepared by the technical staff.

Clinical Oncology/Haematology Pharmacy Service

Pharmacists and technicians work as part of the clinical team on 3B.

As experts in medicines, the main focus of the role involves applying our extensive pharmaceutical knowledge to ensure that medicines are used in the most effective and appropriate way.

As soon as possible after admission a member of the Pharmacy Team will visit you/your child and clarify any medication history and allergies. With your permission, we may contact your GP, Community Pharmacy or other relevant healthcare provider for further information. The medicines you have brought in with you will be assessed, any additional medicines supplied. We will check the suitability of the medicines.

Managing patients’ medicines involves pharmacists checking prescriptions to ensure that the right medication is being used at the right dose for the right condition. All chemotherapy prescriptions are checked by a pharmacist before a dose is given. Medicine safety is of paramount importance so part of our role involves regularly checking you/your child’s medicines during your admission and monitoring of the patient's condition by ensuring the necessary checks, such as blood tests, are performed.

We can help you/your child understand what medicines they need to take, when to take them, what they are being used for and what possible side effects may occur. When patients are unable to take their medicines for any reason, we can help find ways around the problem e.g. using liquids rather than tablets.

Clinical trials are a core part of the way care is delivered for children with cancer,

We work closely with the clinical team to undertake clinical trials making sure that we help to develop new treatments for children and teenagers with cancer. Treatments that are given as part of a clinical trial need to be carefully controlled. Our pharmacists’ responsibilities include ensuring any clinical trial medicine is stored and dispensed correctly and in line with the law. The pharmacists review the latest procedures and explain the correct use and storage of the medication to other health professionals.

The Satellite Pharmacy

This Satellite Pharmacy is responsible for preparing and providing medicines for patients attending 3B (day case, in-patients and some out-patient clinics). It does not provide medicines that need to be made in extremely clean conditions e.g. intravenous chemotherapy. These are provided by Aseptic Services insert hyper link to Aseptic services

Outpatient Clinic

Opening times: 8.45am - 1.15pm, Wednesday and Thursday mornings only.

Only when you arrive at the Satellite Pharmacy after your consultation can we start to prepare (dispense) your prescription. The pharmacist checks that the dosage of medicine prescribed is correct for your child’s age and cancer treatment protocol. The dispensing of medicines for patients with cancer can be a complex process. A call back system is available so that families can leave Ward 3B whilst dispensing takes place.

Daycase and Inpatients

Opening times: 8.45am – 5pm (closed 1.15pm to 2pm), Monday to Friday.


Meet the team:


Ward Based Specialist Clinical Pharmacists


Senior Oncology Pharmacist, Development

Elizabeth Evans

Ex 3778 Bleep 503

Specialist Paediatric Pharmacists – Oncology Haematology

Samiah Awan

Jennifer Leeming

Ex 3777 Bleep 177

Satellite Pharmacy


Ward-based Pharmacy Technician

Lisa Durkin

Ex 4860

Ward based Assistant Technical Officer

Sonja Gilbert

Ex 4861

Specialist Clinical Pharmacists



Principal Oncology pharmacist, Team Leader

Caroline Osborne

Ex 4642

Senior Oncology Clinical Trial Pharmacist

Julia Hitchin

EX 4641

Senior Oncology Pharmacist ChemoCare Lead/Prescriber

Felicity Heard

Ex 3781

Advanced Oncology/Haematology Pharmacist - Electronic prescribing and Daycase

Leigh Briscoe

Ex 3781

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