(Please note that the telephone number to use to enquire about a patient on the ward is 01202 705291)

Ward Sign The Macmillan Unit is situated at Christchurch Hospital, and is part of the specialist palliative care service at The Royal Bournemouth and Christchurch Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. The service offers specialist palliative care to patients with any advanced, progressive, incurable illness with difficult symptoms or problems. The Macmillan Unit is an NHS Unit; the NHS funds core services but a significant proportion of the funding comes from Macmillan Caring Locally, thanks to the generosity of the local community. In 2013/14 Macmillan Caring Locally will provide more than £1 million to support the provision of the service.

The specialist palliative care service is made up of an inpatient unit (a ward at the Macmillan Unit) with 16 beds and a dedicated team of inpatient nurses, a team of specialist palliative care community nurses who visit patients at home and in nursing or residential care, a team of doctors, a day centre at the Macmillan Unit which offers some complementary therapies, a team of physiotherapists and occupational therapists, a family support team, and a hospital palliative care team which sees patients in the Royal Bournemouth Hospital. The specialist palliative care team works closely with the Royal Bournemouth Hospital and Poole General Hospital, with GP services, and with community based generalist palliative care teams in some areas.

Patients are admitted to the Macmillan Unit for treatment of complex or difficult to manage symptoms, or to receive care when they are approaching the end of their life. It is not a long stay unit. Many patients are discharged from the Macmillan Unit ward with ongoing support from the specialist palliative care service, either to their own home, or to nursing or residential care, once their symptoms have been controlled.

Patients can be referred by their GP, or hospital consultant. Referrals are taken from doctors, nurses or other health and social care professionals; self-referrals from patients are also accepted. Patients will be offered an initial assessment, which is carried out either by a specialist palliative care community nurse, or by a doctor, or jointly – by a senior nurse and doctor together, usually at an outpatient appointment or on a domiciliary visit at home. Follow up is usually by a specialist palliative care community nurse who liaises with the rest of the specialist palliative care team. Patients who no longer need the support of the specialist palliative care service are discharged to their primary care team or their hospital team. Patients can be referred back to the service as and when appropriate, for instance if their condition deteriorates.


The Garden There are no visiting time rules at the Macmillan Unit. However we do ask visitors to refrain from visiting just after meals as we would like our Patients to rest a while.

The Macmillan Unit has a well appointed visitor's lounge with wide screen television & a children's area comprising a computer, an Xbox 360 and craft kits. Visitors can make a hot drink in the beverage area and relax in comfort, or wander around the landscaped garden, aviary and Koi pond.


Aromatherapy In 2009 the Macmillan Unit was awarded Practice Development Unit Status, making it a Centre of Excellence. This was based on two years of work, where the Staff developed new & innovative ways to improve patient care. The Macmillan Unit also has a Teaching Wing, where these specialist skills are passed on to local Healthcare Professionals. Macmillan Caring Locally is committed to invest in training programmes to ensure that as many patients as possible will benefit from advanced palliative care.


Day Centre Craft The Day Centre is open Monday to Thursday from 9.30 a.m. until 3.30 p.m.

The aim of the Macmillan Day Centre is to improve the quality of the Patient's life by offering much needed mutual support and understanding from the staff who acknowledge the importance of helping Patients to cope with their illness and the effects of treatment.

The nurses also endeavour to help them deal with any concerns they may have about the future and assist them to live as normal a life as possible, maintaining their independence.

The Day Centre Support Group provides a wide variety of diversional therapy activities. Many talents are revealed and developed giving a real sense of achievement and fulfillment. The group functions for the Patients' well being and to enable them to participate in activities and benefit from therapies such as Relaxation, Aromatherapy, Physiotherapy and Self Expression.


Support Suffering from cancer is a stressful and difficult journey. Watching a loved one going through it is emotionally and mentally challenging, which can often be overlooked. The Macmillan Family Support Team (based at the Macmillan Unit) offer comfort and support to the Families of our Patients.

At a very difficult time, it can be hard to focus on leading a normal life, when all around seems to be falling apart. The Family Support Team provide valuable advice and will talk through any problems or issues whenever needed.

The care is available from the time that a Patient is referred to the Macmillan Unit, through to bereavement and at any time in the future that there is a need. The Team provides emotional and mental support, and offers advice on any financial support that may be available. This care is offered to all members of the Family including children.


‘Macmillan Caring Locally' built the Chapel at Christchurch Hospital in partnership with Christchurch Hospital League of Friends and the Bournemouth Free Church Council.

Adjacent to the Macmillan Unit, the Chapel provides a haven of peace within the Hospital for all denominations, races and creeds. the Chapel


The Macmillan Unit has a beautiful landscaped garden, which is the envy of all the wards at Christchurch Hospital. It is funded by Macmillan and includes an aviary and a well stocked fish pond with waterfall.

The gentle lapping of the water tumbling over the waterfall, added to chirping sound of tropical birds, helps to make this stunning garden a refuge of tranquility for our Patients and Visitors.

The Garden


The pioneering Macmillan Unit was built in 1974. Macmillan Caring Locally have set aside funds to rebuild the Macmillan Unit in 2017. The vision for the new Macmillan Unit is for it to be the benchmark by which future palliative care wards will be based.