Our trust values
University Hospitals Dorset NHS Foundation Trust

Macmillan Unit

Offering a tranquil setting for the care of patients and their families


Macmillan unitThe Macmillan Unit is located at Christchurch Hospital and is part of University Hospitals Dorset NHS Foundation Trust.

Our philosophy

The aim of the Macmillan Unit Team is to enhance the comfort of our patients by attending to their physical, psychological, social and spiritual needs. We also offer support to families and carers by giving friendly, realistic advice and constructive ideas, and by integrating our services.

Our services

The unit provides specialist palliative inpatient care and has sixteen beds. We also have our Day Centre which patients may be referred to. The dedicated team working at the unit consists of doctors, inpatient nurses, specialist palliative care community nurses, hospital palliative care nurses, therapists, a chaplain, and staff who offer financial and counselling support.

The Macmillan Unit works closely with the Royal Bournemouth Hospital, Poole Hospital, with GP services, and with community based palliative care teams in some areas. Patients are admitted for treatment of complex or difficult to manage symptoms. As it is not a long stay unit, many patients are discharged 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.

While we are able to access most investigations offered by the Royal Bournemouth Hospital, at the Macmillan Unit our emphasis is on comfort and quality of life and so we only request investigations if we believe they will change treatment. Blood tests can be performed on the ward, but some other investigations may require a short ambulance trip to the Royal Bournemouth Hospital.

The Macmillan Unit Team is here to help:

  • manage difficult symptoms
  • alleviate fear and anxiety about your illness and the future
  • encourage and enable your independence
  • advise on social and financial matters
  • offer spiritual care
  • communicate with other health care professionals
  • inform you about other services
  • educate and train other healthcare professionals

Visiting us

The Macmillan Unit is located on the Christchurch Hospital site on Fairmile Road in Christchurch, Dorset and is easily accessible by bus, car or train.

By train: the unit is a 20 minute walk from Christchurch train station.

By bus: the local bus numbers are 24, 111, 702, 769, 781, 789, R4, X1, X2

By car: parking is available for visitors to the Macmillan Unit.

Visitors are welcome at any time, but as being visited can be tiring, it is often better to limit the number of visitors at any one time and encourage people not to stay too long. Children of any age are welcome and well behaved pets may also visit. The main entrance is locked after 5pm, entry can be gained using the doorbell.

We have a lovely garden where patients and visitors are welcome to spend time and an aviary. Please note, patients are allowed to smoke in the garden, but relatives who wish to smoke must use the designated smoking areas in the hospital grounds.

Our catchment area

Our catchment area is dependent both on where you live and which GP surgery you are registered with. We generally cover Bournemouth, Christchurch, Ringwood, Highcliffe and New Milton. However, your care may be offered by Forest Holme Hospice in Poole, Oakhaven Hospice in Lymington, Weldmar Hospicare in Dorchester or Salisbury Hospice.


We welcome referrals from GPs, hospital doctors and specialist nurses. We would always expect referrals to have been discussed with the individual being referred. If you wish, you can refer yourself to our service. We encourage you to speak to your doctor or nurse if you would like to be seen by the palliative care team. Referrals can be made by letter or can be made on one of our referral forms. If the referral is urgent, we encourage you to phone or fax us.

Contacting us

Our address is:

Macmillan Unit
Christchurch Hospital
Fairmile Road
BH23 2JX

Our telephone number is: 0300 019 5470

Palliative care advice is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week from the nurses and on-call senior doctor at the Macmillan Unit via the palliative care advice line on 0300 019 5470.


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