On the day of your operation

Your day surgery procedure

If you're coming for an operation at one of the three day surgery units at the Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust, there are a few things you should expect, outlined below.

Watch the video: What to expect on the day of your operation

Alternatively, download our 'having an operation' booklet for further information.

Food and drink: before your operation

If the timing of your day surgery procedures means you have been asked to come to us for 7.30am, you may have a small glass of water when you wake. You should drink this no later than 6am. Do not eat anything after midnight, including sweets and chewing gum.

Please have a bath or shower on the morning of your surgical procedures and use the wipes given to you at your pre-assessment. This reduces the risk of infection during medical treatment. However, you should not use the wipes on sensitive areas of your body. 

Please remove any:

  • nail varnish
  • make-up
  • body piercings

On the day of your medical treatment: what day patients should bring with them

In order to make sure you're ready for day surgery, please make sure you bring:

  • any medication that you are taking, including inhalers
  • a dressing gown and slippers
  • something to help pass the time, such as a book or personal stereo

Please do not bring any valuables with you.

Checking in for day surgery: arriving at the hospital

Once you arrive at the hospital where you're receiving medical treatment, please check in at the reception for the day surgery unit. You should tell staff if your personal details have changed. This is so that we can update your patient records.

If someone will be helping you home on the day, they should ask medical staff for the number to call to find out when to collect you. You should then enter the day surgery unit alone.

We recommend that you take public transport when visiting one of our London hospitals, as parking can be limited. For help finding Barnet Hospital, Chase Farm Hospital or Royal Free Hospital, please follow our directions

Inside day surgery: how will the day be organised?

Once checked in and inside the day surgery unit, a named nurse is allocated to each day patient. Your nurse will introduce his or herself to you when you arrive and advise on how long you can expect to wait before going to the operating theatre.

The operating lists can be all day (8am to 7pm) or morning or afternoon only. We will have asked you to come your hospital appointment at a particular time as we try to estimate the time of your operation as accurately as possible. 

However, sometimes things change – an emergency may take priority on the operating list or a piece of medical equipment may not be available until a certain time. We therefore cannot guarantee the exact time of your surgery. We will try to keep you informed if there is a change to your schedule.

Day surgery procedures: bringing personal belongings with you

The nurse will help you to prepare for your medical procedures. We provide a locker for clothes and other belongings. Patients keep locker keys throughout their stay on the day surgery unit.

Consenting to your surgical procedure and meeting your anaesthetist

Your surgeon will ask you to sign a consent form for the operation and will mark your skin with a pen to highlight the part of your body where your operation will be.
Your anaesthetist will discuss the drugs he or she intends to use to put you to sleep and what pain relief you will have after the operation. 
Sometimes the anaesthetist will choose to give you a regional block, a type of anaesthetic that numbs a specific area of the body only.

Day patients: coming in early to meet your medical consultant

Your consultant may have asked us to bring you into hospital early as s/he wishes to see you before surgery. If this is the case you may experience a wait. We have limited facilities and distractions to help pass the time so please bring a book or a personal stereo with you.

Useful downloads

Read more about having an operation at one of our hospitals.