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Getting Ready for your Operation

Below you will find useful information ahead of your operation. Click on the titles to read more!

Fasting requirements

To fully prepare you for your admission to hospital, it is important that you read the following carefully. Failure to adhere to the guidelines below could make your anaesthetic very dangerous and result in your operation being cancelled on the day.

Morning admission time – on day of surgery

  • Make sure you do not have a very heavy meal the night before your surgery.
  • You must have nothing to eat for six hours before your admission time. No other foodstuff to be taken.
  • You may have water up your admission time.
  • IMPORTANT: You should drink 300 ml (1 glass) of water/isotonic still drink (Aquarius- 6:45)
  • Two hours before your admission time with or without your medications that you normally take as advised by the Pre-Assessment Unit.
  • On the ward you may be allowed sips of water (up to 170mls per hour) before your surgery – please check with the staff on the day
  • Do not take tea, coffee, milk or any carbonated (fizzy) drinks.

Afternoon admission time – on day of surgery

  • You may have a light breakfast e.g.: tea and toast at 6 am
  • You must have nothing to eat for six hours before your admission time
  • You may have water up your admission time.
  • On the ward you may be allowed sips of water (up to 170mls per hour) before your surgery – please check with the staff on the day
  • IMPORTANT: You should drink 300 ml (1 glass of water/isotonic still drink (Aquarius 9:45) two hours before your admission time with or without your medications that you normally take as advised by the Pre-Assessment Unit.
  • Do not take tea, coffee, milk or any carbonated drinks.

General Advice

Please take your medication as advised by your pre-op nurse

  • Do not take chewing gum or sweets on the morning of your operation, this will cause your operation to be delayed or cancelled.
  • You should refrain from taking any alcohol for at least 48 hours prior to your admission.
  • Please shower or bathe before coming into hospital. Do not use body sprays, talcum powders, lotions/creams.
  • If you smoke you should make a determined effort cut down before coming into hospital. Cigarettes reduce the amount of oxygen your blood can carry under anaesthetic.

If you have any further questions regarding your operation or admission please do not hesitate to contact our Pre-Assessment Deparment, available Monday to Friday 08:00 – 15:30 20007282

Alternatively please click here to use the contact form and a member of staff will contact you as soon as possible

Preparing for admission

Before your operation you need to attend a separate appointment with Pre-operative Assessment to ensure you are fit enough for surgery.

The nursing staff in pre-operative Assessment will ask you about your past medical history and will undertake a number of tests which will include some or all of the following:

  • Height / weight
  • Blood pressure
  • MRSA swabs
  • Blood tests
  • ECG

We also need details of all medication you are currently taking. Please bring with you your medication history sheet from your GP or a copy of your current prescription(s).

When will my operation take place?

Following your pre-operative assessment appointment, feedback will be given to the Waiting List Co-ordinator to plan your admission to hospital. If you have not done so already, you will receive a letter informing you of your admission date, time and place. It will also inform you of your individual fasting requirements.

Is there anything I should do before my operation?

Before you come into hospital for surgery there are certain preparations you need to make:

  • Do not smoke for 24 hours or more before your operation
  • Arrange for a supply of your regular medications to be available and some painkillers to have at home ready
  • Arrange child care or alternative care for those you are the main carer for
  • Arrange for someone to collect you from hospital and stay with you for a period of 24 hours following discharge

Follow any fasting instructions you are given (these will be on your admission letter)

Follow any specific instructions you are given at Pre-operative Assessment including:

  • Stopping or taking any medications
  • Preparations such as specialist diets, drinks etc

On the morning of your operation you will need to:

  • Have a bath or shower
  • Take off all your jewellery except your wedding ring if you have one
  • Take off any nail varnish or false nails on your fingers and toes
  • Remove any make-up

What should I bring?

Storage is limited on the ward so we ask that you only bring what is necessary.

Essential Items:

  • Any medication you are taking, all in their original packaging (tablets, medicines, inhalers)
  • Dressing gown
  • Sensible footwear with a non-slip sole

We also suggest that you add these items to your checklist:

  • Pyjamas or nightdress
  • Toiletries (including contact lens cases, denture pot etc)
  • Mobility aids (frames and sticks)
  • Hearing aid
  • Glasses and cases

You might also want to bring something to do during your stay for example a book, newspaper, magazine or crossword. If you know you are having your surgery under a local, epidural or regional anaesthetic you may like to bring some music to listen to.

Please do not bring any valuables such as money or jewellery into hospital with you.

Getting to and from hospital

Think about how you will get to the hospital and back again. You are advised not to drive and you will normally be expected to make your own way home.

Transport is only provided to patients who have a specific medical need.

Your discharge from hospital

To make sure that you only stay in hospital for the time you need, we start to plan your discharge as soon as possible.

The nurse at your pre-operative assessment appointment will help to identify if further support may be required on discharge.

We will assess what your immediate needs are likely to be, to enable you to return home to continue your recovery.

On admission we will keep you updated with discharge arrangements so that you and your family can plan your return home. You will be given a discharge date at the earliest opportunity.

You will be given an expected date for discharge when the staff caring for you believe your treatment will be completed.

Your general health

Call us immediately if you are unwell or have the following symptoms in the week before surgery:

  • Sore throat or cold
  • Chest infection
  • Feel feverish with a temperature above 37.5°C
  • Diarrhoea and vomiting
  • Any sores, cuts on or near affected operating site

You can call us on: 20072266 extension

If you need to see a doctor or other health professional, you must tell them you are awaiting a planned operation.

Bringing children to your appointment

We ask that you do not bring children to your pre-operative assessment. Your appointment will be thorough and not appropriate for children to attend.

If the date or time of your appointment means this would be difficult, please contact our team to discuss this.

Preventing blood clots

When we cut ourselves, we bleed. To stop us from bleeding too much, chemicals in our bloodstream help to form a clot. Sometimes a clot can form in the wrong place.

People who are ill, have surgery or are pregnant are at increased risk of blood clots forming in the wrong place.

Your risk of developing a blood clot will be assessed by a doctor or nurse. This will happen either when you come to the pre-assessment clinic.

If you are thought to be at increased risk of developing a blood clot you may be advised to use one or both of the following:

  • Medication (injection or tablets)
  • A device to improve the blood flow in your legs (stockings or another device)

You can find out more by reading our “Preventing blood clots while you are in hospital and after you leave” leaflet

Smoking cessation

We ask that you stop smoking before your operation as continuing to smoke will increase your risks. Research shows that people who stop smoking have a shorter recovery period following an operation.

If you want to talk to somebody about smoking cessation, please contact the GHA Smoking Cessation Service on 200 52441 or visit

Please see our “Stop before your op” leaflet for further details

Reducing infection

Our stringent cleaning and infection prevention measures have meant the chances of patients acquiring an infection like MRSA while in our hospitals is well below most other large teaching hospitals and over the past four years we have been one of the most successful groups of hospitals in the country to prevent healthcare associated infections like MRSA and Clostridium Difficile.

But to keep our hospitals clean of infections we need everyone including visitors to follow the simple steps as explained below.

What can you do to reduce the risk of infection to yourself and others?

Have a shower or bath. If you are coming in for a planned operation, you are advised to have (or be helped to have) a shower, bath or bed bath the day before or on the day of your operation.

Do not shave your operation area yourself. If any hair needs to be removed from your skin before an operation, staff will do this using electric clippers with a disposable head.

Use the hand cleaning facilities at every ward entrance and every bedside and encourage your visitors to do so as well.

Ask the staff caring for you whether they have cleaned their hands. Staff really do not mind you asking and are expecting you to do so.

Display the back of this leaflet on your bedside locker or bed table. This will remind everyone around you to clean their hands.

Follow the points in the Visitors’ Code and on the signs at each ward entrance. These will tell you more about how you and your visitors can help us prevent the spread of infections.

For more information about reducing your risk of infection, see our dedicated leaflet or webpage.

Further information

We have a wide range of leaflets available to download on our website:

These include information and advice on:

  • Specific surgical procedures
  • Preparing for your operation
  • Getting to the hospital and what to expect from us
  • Looking after yourself following your operation

You may be advised to read the following leaflets:

  • Title Preparing for your operation
  • Stop before your op (stop smoking)
  • You and your anaesthetic
  • Reducing your risk of infection
  • Antiseptic washes for the treatment of MRSA
  • Preventing blood clots
  • Transfusion of blood and blood products
  • Enhanced recovery programme: Colorectal surgery
  • Enhanced recovery programme: Gynaecological surgery
  • Enhanced recovery programme: Hysterectomy
  • Enhanced recovery programme: Liver surgery
  • Enhanced recovery programme: Urological surgery

Please note you cannot  have your operation unless you completed the ePAQ questionnaire below

Image of Qrcode For Electronic Personal Assessment Questionnaire (epaq) (1)
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