Read our latest advice on Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Our services are open and safe to attend – we are here to help

Sickle Day Unit - for pain management and support


More in this section


This nurse-led service at Guy’s Hospital is for treating painful sickle cell episodes (also known as painful crises). 

Only patients already known to the service at Guy’s and St Thomas’ and who have been reviewed in clinic in the last 2 years can access the service.

Opening hours

The pain management service is open 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday.

If you need treatment outside of these hours, please go to the Emergency Department (A&E) at St Thomas’.

How to access the service

Call the day unit on 020 7188 3615.

This line is open from 9am and will be answered by one of the day unit nurses.

They will ask you a few questions and if it is appropriate that you are seen on the day unit, you will be asked to attend.

How the day unit works

The day unit is a service where you can get your pain brought under control with painkillers that are stronger than those you have tried at home.

This might be oral medicine or an injection, depending on what you usually have for your pain.

It is important that you call before coming to the day unit so the nurses can organise your bed and plan your treatment, to minimise delays when you arrive at the unit.

It is not advised to turn up without letting us know, as there is a risk that the day unit may not be able to treat you and you may be asked to attend the Emergency Department at St Thomas’.

What happens when yo come to the day unit

  • On arrival you will be seen and assessed by a nurse.
  • We will prescribe and give you painkillers and fluids (if required). If the pain settles you can then go home. However, if the pain persists you will receive further painkillers
  • Your blood pressure, temperature, pulse, respirations and oxygen levels will be monitored.

When you should come to the day unit rather than the Emergency Department

You should come to the day unit if you:

  • have an acute painful crisis that you have not been able to control
  • and have taken 2 to 3 consecutive doses of your usual painkillers at home over the past 24 hours

When you should go to the Emergency Department

You should go directly to the Emergency Department if:

  • you have a high temperature
  • you have chest pain or shortness of breath
  • you are pregnant
  • your pain does not feel like your usual sickle crisis
  • you have weakness affecting your limbs

Other services the day unit provides

The day unit also provides:

  • planned blood transfusion (top-up transfusion and exchange transfusion)
  • health psychology. You can be referred to see a psychologist for assessment and further follow-up can be arranged as necessary
  • consultant-led outpatient sickle clinics, held twice a week, for your normal regular follow-ups

Going home

Continue to take your usual painkillers at home as needed. Make sure you follow the instructions given to you.

If your pain worsens once you have left the unit, you are advised to attend the Emergency Department to be reassessed, or return to the day unit the following day, following the same procedure above.

You may find it helpful to talk with our health psychologist for support on developing effective coping strategies, which are often of great benefit to many patients. Speak to your nurse caring for you during the course of your treatment on the day unit to arrange this.

If you have received or taken any opiate painkillers such as morphine (such as Oramorph®), then you are at risk of sedation and drowsiness and are advised not to drive. Please plan ahead and arrange for someone to collect you when you are able to leave.

If your pain gets worse or you develop other complications and need admission, this will be discussed with you as soon as possible.

Your GP will be informed of your attendance.

Contact us

Call the Haematology Day Unit Pain Service line on 020 7188 3615

For more information about the Sickle Day Unit, please speak to the sickle cell specialist nurse.

Where to find us

Department of Haematology

4th floor, Southwark Wing

Guy’s Hospital

London SE1 9RT



Resource number: 2682/VER3

Last reviewed: January 2019 | Next review: January 2022

A list of sources is available on request.


Where next?


Contact us

Haematology Day Unit Pain Service line 

Phone 020 7188 3615

Print this page

Download The Sickle Day Unit (PDF, 389KB)

Staying safe in our hospitals

We've made some important changes to help keep you safe. 
Find out more.

Was this helpful?

If you have any comments about this information, we would be happy to hear from you. Fill in our simple online form or email:


PIF TICK logo - trusted health information