Anaesthetics patient information
Find out what to expect when you come to hospital for your operation.
Before your operation
If you have any questions or concerns, someone from our team will be available 24 hours a day, seven days a week for you to speak with.
You can contact an anaesthetist before surgery, or discuss any concerns before or after surgery.
You can also contact the departments directly; the anaesthetic administrators will be able to direct your call to the most appropriate doctor. During daytime hours, please contact anaesthetists through the anaesthetic department. This number should be on your appointment letter or on our clinic information page. Out of normal hours or in an emergency, please contact the on-call registrar through the hospital switchboards (numbers can be found on our locations page).
If your appointment is in the morning, please do not have anything to eat or drink (not even sweets or chewing gum) after 02.00 on the morning of your operation.
If your appointment is in the afternoon, please do not have anything to eat or drink after 07.00 on the morning of your operation. If you regularly take medicines in the morning, please take them by 07.00 on the morning of your operation. You should take them with a small sip of water if necessary.
If you are diabetic, you must not take your insulin or diabetic tablets on the morning of your operation. If you take blood-thinning medications (such as warfarin or aspirin), please contact us for advice before your appointment.
We strongly advise you to arrange for someone to drive you to the hospital or travel by public transport. You must not drive home following your operation.
During your operation
An anaesthetist will care for you during your operation and will:
- talk to you about the different types of anaesthesia and find which options you would prefer to help you make choices
- discuss the risks of anaesthesia with you
- agree a plan with you for your anaesthetic and pain control
- be responsible for giving your anaesthetic and for your wellbeing and safety throughout your surgery
- manage any blood transfusions you may need
- plan your care, if needed, in the intensive care unit or high dependency unit
- make your experience as calm and painless as possible
After your operation
You will wake up in the recovery area with a nurse looking after you. When you are fully awake, we will take you back to the ward. You may find that you have a sore or dry throat and some tenderness at the site of the operation. We will give you painkillers if you need them. We will ask you to stay on the ward for a few hours to make sure that you have recovered sufficiently from the anaesthetic before you go home.
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Your inpatient stay
You may need to stay at one of our hospitals to have a procedure or receive treatment, either overnight as an inpatient or during the day as a day patient. Ahead of your inpatient stay, you will usually need to attend a pre-operative assessment appointment.
Find out more about how you can reschedule or cancel your inpatient stay, pre-operative assessments, what to bring with you when you come to hospital and much more.