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Pre-Operative Assessment Service


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Welcome to Pre-Operative Assessment.

All adult patients who are due to undergo elective surgery will be offered a pre-operative assessment; this will be done either face to face or over the telephone.

Surgical specialities included are: Bariatric, Breast, Colorectal, ENT, General Surgery, Hepato-Biliary, Oral Surgery & Dental, Orthopaedics, Plastic Surgery and Upper GI. We also assess some patients who require an endoscopy.

Our Pre-assessment service runs across both the north and the south of CDDFT:

In the North - appointments are available at University Hospital of North Durham.

In the South - appointments are available at Bishop Auckland Hospital and Darlington Memorial hospital.

You may be seen by a number of our team colleagues including: Registered Nurses, Health Care Assistants & Consultant Anaesthetists.

What does a pre-operative assessment involve?

Pre-operative assessment is a nurse-led service and plays a vital role in your preparation for surgery. It provides us with a detailed check of your general health and fitness for surgery and is also an opportunity for the team to provide you with further information about your procedure and anaesthetic, what to expect on the day of surgery and how to prepare for this. All tests performed at the pre-operative assessment clinic give us an overall picture of your current state of health. Some people may require more tests than others. On some occasions, results may require us to cancel your surgery pending further investigation or a simple repeat of the tests at a later date.

For fit and healthy patients the assessment may simply involve a health questionnaire, baseline observations (including pulse, blood pressure, height & weight), MRSA screening and advice on admission and fasting, all conducted by our nursing team.

Patients with more complex health problems, or those having major surgery, may require more tests, including blood tests, urine tests, ECG, Echocardiogram, X-Rays, Spirometry or Cardiopulmonary Exercise testing (CPet)

How can you help to improve your health prior to surgery?

  • If you smoke, you could cut down or even stop
  • If you are overweight, you could try to lose some weight
  • If you drink a lot of alcohol (recommended weekly allowance is no more than 14 units, for both men and women), you could try to reduce the amount you drink.

Before your appointment

  • You can eat, drink and take all of your normal medications on the day of your pre-assessment.
  • Please bring a printed list of your current prescribed medication, as well as any supplements or herbal remedies that you may take.
  • Please bring along your reading glasses, hearing aids and any information regarding medical devices that you require (including pacemakers & defibrillators)
  • Please wear loose fitting clothes as you may require a physical examination of your chest.
  • If you live in a Residential or Nursing home, or have communication difficulties, it is also a good idea for your carer/family member to accompany you to your appointment.
  • If you require an interpreter, this can be arranged through our waiting list department.
  • If you have any questions, please write them down and bring them with you.

Pre-op Covid testing

  • all patients who require an elective procedure will now need to have a Covid PCR test and isolate for 72 hours before surgery.

If you feel unwell before your surgery

Even with the best preparation, you may feel unwell in the run up to your surgery. If you do feel unwell when you are due to come in to hospital, we need to know. Depending on the illness and how urgent your surgery is, your operation may need to be postponed until you feel better.  Please contact the appropriate Pre-operative Assessment unit for advice, this is important to minimise the risk of complications from your surgery and anaesthetic.

'Every aspect of my emergency care was dealt with quickly, efficiently and professionally with full explanations and compassion from all staff involved'.

Patient, Emergency Department, Darlington Memorial Hospital