The Christie Hotline

The hotline service is a 24 hour telephone helpline service available to patients and carers for advice/management on the side effects and complications of cancer treatments.

The Christie Hotline

Please note recently discharged surgical patients should ring ward 10 directly for advice / assistance.

All patients undergoing chemotherapy are given the Hotline number which is printed on the reverse of all chemotherapy regimen leaflets and hotline cards. The importance of using the hotline number is reiterated on each visit.

Getting a fever or developing an infection?

Chemotherapy temporarily reduces your ability to fight infection. Infections develop rapidly. If you think you have an infection you will need prompt treatment in hospital. You will not get better on your own. Early infections can be treated easily. Delay could be dangerous.

These are the signs that you may be starting an infection:

  • Feeling feverish
  • Feeling shivery
  • Hot and cold sweats
  • Sore throat
  • Diarrhoea
  • A burning feeling when you pass urine
  • Cough, sputum or feeling breathless
  • Redness or swelling, especially around a wound, sore or boil
  • If your temperature is above 37.5ºC
  • If your temperature is below 36ºC and you feel unwell

If you feel unwell, do not delay, call The Christie hotline immediately on 0161 446 3658.

Urgent advice for doctors

The treatment is potentially myelosuppressive. Take all infective episodes seriously. Treat promptly with antibiotics.

  • Take a full blood count immediately.
  • Ring The Christie on 0161 446 3658 for advice. The oncall doctor can tell you whether the patient should be admitted locally or managed at The Christie.

Antibiotic advice

If a patient is unwell and/or pyrexial with a temp of >37.5ºC for > 1 hour or has temp of >38.5ºC for any length of time give antibiotics.

If blood results are not available in one hour administer antibiotics (NB 'door-to-needle time one hour').

For all patients give:

  • Piperacillin/Tazobactam (Tazocin) 4.5g TDS (3 times daily)
  • Gentamicin 5mg per kilogram OD (once daily) maximum dose 500mg

Initial treatment with these antibiotics should be adequate for most patients. If penicillin allergic (non anaphylaxis) or renal failure given Meropenem 1g TDS.

Please note, many chemotherapy regimens contain platinum agents, if received in the last 7 days, avoid aminoglycosides and give Meropenem 1g TDS instead.

If pyrexia lasts for more than 24-36 hours despite these measures then you need to change the antibiotics. Contact The Christie oncologist, haematologist or microbiologist for advice on 0161 446 3000 or 0161 446 3658.

For further advice contact your Microbiology department.