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What to expect when you are having an operation

Because the current Government advice is to maintain distance between people wherever possible, and to take extra care to protect patients and staff, we need to make sure there are not too many people in the hospital at any one time.

This means coming into hospital for your surgery will be very different.

In line with national advice, we will ask you and your household to self-
isolate for three days before your surgery (your consultant may ask you to isolate for 14 days if you are vulnerable).

This means you will need to:

  • Stay at home
  • Not go to work, school or public areas.
  • Not attend any gatherings. This includes gatherings of friends and families in private spaces, for example, family homes, weddings and religious services
  • Avoid having visitors to your home
  • Ask friends, family members or delivery services to carry out errands for you - such as getting groceries, medications or other shopping
  • Strictly avoid contact with someone who is displaying any symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19). These symptoms include high temperature, a new and continuous cough or loss of taste or smell.

 We will test you for the COVID-19 infection before your planned operation. This is usually three days before the date of your surgery.

If your test shows that you have the infection, we will postpone your surgery until you and your household are clear of the infection.

Coming to the hospital for tests before your surgery

We will invite you to an appointment at the hospital to check your health and prepare you for your surgery. This is called a pre-assessment.  

When you come to this appointment:

  • Please follow Government advice and avoid public transport as much as you can.
  • Please enter the hospital via the entrance nearest to where your appointment will take place (we will tell you where this is). This will help us make sure too many people are not walking through the hospital at any one time.
  • Please do not bring a friend or relative with you when attending your appointment. This is because we need to limit the number of people in clinic areas. One parent or guardian may accompany a child, and one person may accompany a vulnerable adult.

 When you arrive at the hospital

When you arrive at the hospital, a member of staff will take your temperature at the entrance to the building. If you have a high temperature, we may ask you to return home, and rearrange your appointment date.

We will also ask you to clean your hands at the entrance to the hospital. We will provide hand washing or hand sanitising facilities so you can do this.

Some parts of the hospital will have one-way systems, or you may be asked to walk on the left. We are also asking people to maintain social distancing in lifts, and we are limiting the number of people in waiting areas at any one time, in line with Government advice to maintain distance between people.

It is important that you wear a face covering in the hospital. This is for your safety and the safety of other patients and staff.

Face coverings can be cloth and/or homemade, and advice on how to wear and make one can be found on the government website. Face coverings worn as part of religious beliefs or cultural practice are also acceptable, providing they are not loose and cover the mouth and nose.

We are asking that you plan in advance and bring a face covering with you whenever possible, but if you do not have one available when you come to hospital, we will provide you with one.

The day of your operation

We will ask you not to bring a friend or relative with you to accompany you on the day of your operation.

We understand this is very difficult for you and your loved ones, but we need to limit the number of people in the hospital to keep you, other patients and staff safe.

Vulnerable adults and children may be accompanied by one adult, this person and their family will need to isolate for fourteen days before the surgery, along with members of their household, and be tested for COVID-19 three days before the operation.

We are running our operating theatres and wards very differently at this time. This means we are caring for fewer patients at any one time, and take extra time between operations so we can ensure the areas where you will be treated and cared for are safe and that staff have appropriate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).

Visiting while you are in hospital

Our latest guidance on visiting restrictions is available here. We understand that this is a very difficult situation for you and your loved ones. We advise you to bring your tablet, iPad or phone to stay in touch with friends and relatives via video and phone calls. You can find information on how to access our WiFi whilst in hospital here.

Maintaining a safe environment for patients having surgery

It is natural to be worried about coming into hospital at this time. We hope that all the actions we are taking to make sure our surgical areas are safe reassures you. Patients coming into hospital for planned surgery are cared for and treated by dedicated teams in the operating theatre and on the ward, where staff are only caring for patients who are having planned surgery. 

Thank you for helping us maintain your safety as we re-open hospital services. Please respect the space of fellow patients and do not attend your appointments if you have any symptoms of the virus.

Please also be patient with our staff, who are working in new ways to maintain your safety.

Staff will be wearing a mask, which means the faces of those caring for you will be covered. If you find it difficult to hear or understand what staff are saying, please tell us so we can take extra care to communicate with you. 

We are doing everything we can to maintain the cleanliness of our hospitals with regular cleaning.

Hand sanitiser dispensers are available throughout the hospitals and cleaning wipes will be available for any touch screens or vending machines that you may use.  

Thank you again for all your help as we work together to keep everyone safe.