Before your day surgery

Many operations at the hospitals in our trust are now performed as day surgery. In most cases, our medical specialists are able to discharge a hospital patient who has had a day surgery procedure within a few hours of their medical treatment. There are a few patients who use our 23-hour overnight facility and who we discharge from hospital first thing in the morning. We will tell you if we plan to keep you overnight.

Download our 'having an operation' booklet for more information about coming in for an operation at one of our hospitals.

What must I do before a day surgery procedure?

There are a few things hospital patients must do before they can come for a day surgery procedure at one of our hospitals. 

Hospital patients must attend a pre-assessment appointment

If a hospital patient is going to have an operation, they must attend a pre-assessment appointment. You cannot have an operation without doing this. 

At your pre-assessment, our medical specialists will make sure you are suitable for anaesthesia - the method for putting you to sleep for your operation. They will also check that you are in good enough health for surgical procedures and give you verbal and written information about the surgery.

Hospital patients should follow instructions about food and drink

You should:

  • Not drink any alcohol the night before your surgery
  • Not smoke for 12 hours before the procedure
  • Have a shower or bath in the morning before coming to the day surgery unit

If you have been asked to come to the hospital for 7.30am you may have a small glass of water – but no later than 6am.

Do not eat anything after midnight. This includes sweets and chewing gum.

Day patients must arrange travel before day surgery procedures

A hospital patient must be collected from the day surgery unit as you must not drive yourself home or travel by yourself. 

We recommend that you go home by taxi or car if possible. We discourage you from travelling by public transport because you will still be recovering from the effects of your operation and anaesthesia. Minicabs can be booked at the main reception of each of our London hospitals. 

Changing your medical appointment before day surgery procedures

Call us as soon as possible if you cannot keep your medical appointment. If you become unwell, develop a cough or cold or cannot come to your appointment for any reason, please call us. The phone number for the day surgery unit at each of our hospitals in London is below. 

Barnet Hospital: 020 8216 5056
Chase Farm Hospital: 020 8375 1960
Royal Free Hospital: 020 7830 2665

Hospital operations for women who are sexually active

Exposure to anaesthetic can be harmful to an unborn child. Please use a reliable form of contraception, or do not have sex, for the time between your last period and the time of your surgical procedure. Do not use condoms.

Managing your pain after your operation

You may need analgesics, or ‘painkillers’, to help manage your pain at home after your operation. Please make sure you have a supply of over-the-counter pain relief, for example ibuprofen (a common anti-inflammatory) and paracetamol, and laxatives at home. Patients will be prescribed stronger pain medication if necessary.

Find out more about managing your pain after your operation here.