Preparation for surgery at Gloucestershire Royal Hospital or Cheltenham General Hospital
This page includes important information for you to read before your admission
Blood tests before admission
You may need to have a blood test in the Edward Jenner Clinic at Gloucestershire Royal Hospital or West Block Outpatient Department at Cheltenham General Hospital before admission. If so, you will be given a form or forms for this.
Preparing to come into hospital
It is important that you are prepared for being in hospital and away from home. Here are some points for you to think about:
- Have you arranged who will bring you into hospital and take you home again?
- Who will look after you when you are discharged home? You will need a responsible adult to stay with you for 24 hours following your discharge.
- Patients who have a package of care may need to contact their provider and adult social services before their surgery date to inform them that their package of care may need to be adjusted for their recovery period.
- Who will help you with your shopping, or do it for you?
- Do you need to top up your freezer (if you have one) and cupboards to reduce the amount of shopping that needs to be done after your operation?
- If you have any pets, who will care for them while you are in hospital?
- How will you manage when you go home from hospital? Do you need to move things in your home for safety reasons? Do you need to move items so they are easy for you to reach?
- Do you need to have your usual repeat prescription topped up to avoid running out of medication soon after your discharge?
- Have you got basic pain relief medication in the house such as paracetamol and ibuprofen? These are not routinely supplied by the hospital when you are discharged.
- Make sure you have all your important contact details to hand such as your GP’s surgery and hospital department, in case you need to contact someone after your operation.
- Make sure you have read and understood any leaflets about your operation, especially the sections about what to expect after surgery.
- If you have any additional needs, these should be discussed with hospital staff before your admission. Please contact your pre-operative assessment nurse on the telephone number written in the front of this booklet.
- If you have any worries or concerns before or during your stay, please speak to a member of staff.
The day of your surgery
Please follow any additional instructions given at your Pre-operative Assessment Clinic (POA) appointment as certain medications need to be omitted (not taken) on the day of surgery. See the further instructions section below. You should take all other routine medication as usual. Tablets can be taken with a small amount of plain water.
Fasting (nil by mouth)
Please follow the instructions written in your ‘To Come In’ (TCI) letter.
The letter will state when to stop eating and drinking in preparation for your surgery.
You must follow these instructions for your surgery to go ahead as planned.
If you have any questions about your fasting instructions, please contact your pre-operative assessment nurse using the telephone number written in the front of this booklet.
Have a bath or shower (or good strip wash) on the day of your operation. This is to stop any unwanted bacteria coming into hospital with you and to reduce the risk of infection. If you are unable to do this, please have a bath or shower (or good strip wash) the evening before and sleep in clean bedding and nightclothes.
What to bring to hospital?
Please bring the following items with you in a small bag, such as a sports bag:
- Your current medication, including inhalers, in their original labelled packs along with a written list of all the medicines that you take including the doses.
- If you have X-rays, MRI scans or other recent investigation results carried out in another hospital then please bring these with you.
- Wear comfortable, warm clothing and secure footwear such as slippers that support the heel of your foot and are not loose.
- Overnight items such as nightwear, a towel, a tooth brush and toothpaste (please ask relatives to bring in any additional items when they visit).
Day case patients do not need to bring overnight items.
Your bag will be labelled with your name and kept safe. Please do not bring anything valuable with you.
Problems before your operation
If you have any of the following, or if you are unwell between your pre-operative assessment appointment and your admission date, please see your GP for treatment and contact your pre-operative assessment nurse with any updates or changes to your medication.
You must also contact your consultant’s secretary via the hospital switchboard if:
- you have a cough, cold or a chest infection
- you have a urinary infection
- you have a skin infection (or a broken or sore area of skin)
- you are admitted to hospital or have another surgical procedure
Gloucestershire Hospitals Switchboard
Tel: 0300 422 2222
When prompted, say your consultant’s name or ask for the operator, then for your consultant’s secretary.
If your surgery needs to be postponed, we will arrange another date for you. We will then be able to offer another patient their operation on that date.
Please be aware that smoking is not allowed anywhere in the hospital buildings or grounds.
We want you to have the best possible outcome from your surgery. Giving up smoking before or during your hospital stay can speed up your recovery and help reduce the risk of complications.
It is never too late to stop smoking and there is plenty of support available to help you. To find out more please contact your GP. Alternatively, you can contact Healthy Lifestyles, Gloucestershire. The details are at the end of this page.
On arrival at the hospital
- A relative, friend or carer can escort you to the department but will be asked to leave shortly after arrival unless you have additional needs and require their support. This will need to be arranged with the day surgery sister before your admission date. Before leaving, your relative, friend or carer will be asked to give us their telephone number(s) so that we can contact them if needed. They will then be given the telephone number of the ward you will be going to following your operation, an approximate time to ring as well as the visiting times.
- The day surgery units at both Gloucestershire Royal and Cheltenham General Hospitals open at 7:30 am so please do not arrive before this time. The day surgery unit at Cheltenham General Hospital closes at 9:00 pm - no patients stay overnight.
- On arrival at the unit, you will be greeted by the reception staff who will take your details and book you in. You will then be asked to wait for the nurse.
- You will be shown to either an admission cabin or a trolley space to be admitted by the nurse looking after you. The nursing staff will take your blood pressure, check a few other details and apply your identification bracelet.
- Once fully admitted you will be asked to change into a theatre gown. Your clothes can be placed in your bag and this will be labelled with your name and hospital number. If your operation is not first on the list, you may be asked to change at a later time.
- You may like to bring a book or magazine to read while you are waiting for your surgery.
- The anaesthetist and surgeon will meet you and discuss your anaesthetic and operation. This may be in a private cabin or trolley space with the curtains drawn around you.
- If you are not able to walk very far, a wheelchair will be available to take you to the admission area and then on to theatre.
- A nurse or member of the theatre staff will go with you to the operating theatre when it is your turn for surgery.
- If you are to remain in hospital overnight following surgery a ward bed will be identified for you to go to after your operation.
- You will be asked to lie on a trolley in the theatre area before going to the anaesthetic room. Your identification will be checked by an anaesthetic assistant.
- The nurse will take any personal items you still have with you such as your dentures and hearing aids and place them in the ‘dignity’ box you will have been given. These will be returned to you in the recovery room or put with the rest of your belongings and taken to the ward you will be going to after your operation.
In the event of your operation being cancelled
Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust try very hard not to cancel operations on the day of surgery. However, if this happens, we will aim to give you a new date for surgery before leaving.
If your surgery is cancelled, your friend, relative or carer will be telephoned to come to collect you. You will be given something to eat and drink before leaving.
Planning your discharge from hospital
It is very important that you plan your transport home as you will be unable to drive for 24 hours following your surgery. You should arrange for a relative or friend to collect you from the unit and for someone to stay with you for 24 hours following the surgery if you are a day case patient.
You must not be alone during this 24 hour period.
You can travel home by taxi but you will need someone to accompany you.
The Red Cross can arrange transport home. If needed, please contact them on:
Tel: 01235 552 665 or
Early planning can make sure you are able to go home as soon as your consultant is happy with your progress.
If you have internet access you may wish to visit www.gloshospitals.nhs.uk
This is the Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust website which gives ward information, maps of the hospital sites and patient information leaflets.
Enter Pre-operative assessment in the search box to view more information about the clinic.
Alternatively, type www.gloshospitals.nhs.uk/our-services/services-we-offer/pre-operative-assessment-clinic/ into to your internet browser.
Royal Collage of Anaesthetists (RCOA)
This site has lots of information about how to prepare yourself before your operation to enable a better recovery. It also has information on the most common operations performed in the NHS.
Healthy Lifestyles Gloucestershire
Help and information about giving up smoking.
Tel: 0800 122 3788