Preoperative assessment

Before coming in for surgery or an investigative procedure at either of our hospitals, we will carry out a preoperative assessment if you are going to have:

  • a general anaesthetic (when you are unconscious during the operation)
  • a spinal anaesthetic (when an injection into your back numbs all of the lower part of your body)
  • a block anaesthetic (when a part of the body is made numb)

You will not be required to have a preoperative assessment if you are only going to have a local anaesthetic unless sedation (drugs to make you relaxed and sleepy) is going to be given as well.


Why do we ask you to have a preoperative assessment?

It helps us learn about your medical history, your general health, any medicines you are taking and any previous experience with anaesthetics.

What happens at the assessment?

You will have an individual consultation with a specialist nurse who will talk through your medical history with you, arrange any tests that you need before surgery and give you information about preparing for your anaesthetic as well as certain aspects of your surgery and recovery period.

How long does it take?

It will depend on the type of surgery or procedure you are having but generally it should take between 30 minutes and one hour. There may be extra time needed for blood tests or heart tests.

What information do you need from me?

If you have a complex history we will give you a letter explaining what we need, but generally we need:

  • A written list of all your medicines and any operations or illnesses you have had
  • We need information from any other hospitals or doctors that you visit
  • If you receive copies of hospital doctors' letters about you, please bring them

Won't all this delay my surgery?

It may delay your surgery for a time but it is essential that we make sure you are as safe as possible. If there are risks for you to do with the anaesthetic, we will discuss them honestly with you. Once you are ready to go ahead with your surgery, we will tell the admissions team and they will contact you with a date for your surgery.

I'm fit and well and have had an anaesthetic before with no problem—do I need to come for an appointment?

Not necessarily. We ask a set of questions when you arrive in the department. If you are fit and well, we will offer to provide you with the information you need by email or by hand. This saves your time and allows us to spend more time with people that need investigation.

I live in another part of the country—do I have to come back for another appointment?

We will work with you and your GP to arrange as much as possible while you are here and through your local surgery. However, if needed for your safety you will be asked to visit again.


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