Main telephone number:
020 8401 3000

Pre-operative assessment unit

Who is the service for?

A pre-operative assessment is performed on all adult patients who are going to have an operation or a surgical procedure performed under

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 (similar to the injections given by a dentist to numb a small area) unless sedation (drugs to make you relaxed and sleepy) is going to be given as well.

Your pre-operative assessment happens after you and your surgeon have decided that a surgical procedure is necessary.

What does the service provide?

The aims of the service are to:

  • Assess how fit you are for surgery and anaesthetic.
  • Ensure that you are as fit as possible for surgery and anaesthetic.
  • Help reduce your worries and concerns.
  • Provide verbal and written information about your admission to hospital, your surgical procedure, length of stay and discharge.

A nurse will perform your assessment, asking you questions about your general health and your lifestyle (e.g. whether your smoke or drink). If you take medication then you must bring a GP prescription for the nurse to see.

Your blood pressure, height, weight and urine will be checked and you may have other tests carried out for example:

  • MRSA screening
  • Blood test
  • ECG ( a tracing of the activity of your heart)
  • Pregnancy test
  • Lung function test
  • Chest X-ray

Your assessment with the nurse will normally last about 30 minutes. However you should allow approximately 3 hours for your appointment as you may have to undergo certain tests in other parts of the hospital as part of your assessment.

If you have a medical condition that is unstable or you have a medical history that is complex you will be referred to an Anaesthetist who may want to see you prior to your surgical procedure in a separate clinic appointment.

Who will patients meet?

Administrators who will check and update your demographics electronically andresolve any queries or concerns promptly and effectively.

Registered nurses will undertake the pre-operative assessment supported by health care assistants.

You may also need to see an anaesthetist if your pre-assessment nurse highlights that you have a complex medical condition.




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