University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust

What happens when I come in?

You should have instructions from the hospital on where and when to go before the procedure. Please take care to follow any instructions on eating and drinking. If you are unsure about any part of the instructions then please phone the ward you are due to attend and one of the staff will give you advice. Allow plenty of time to park; there are concessionary rates for patients and their parents.

When you get to the ward go to the desk area where one of the staff will begin the admission process.

The next part is written for your child – please read or explain it to them if they can’t read it themselves.

You will be usually seen by the anaesthetist once the nurses have completed their checks, weighing etc.

The anaesthetist will be interested to know if you have any other health problems, especially with your heart or breathing, and whether you have had any problems with previous anaesthetics.

They will decide whether you need any further examination or tests and will explain their plan for the anaesthetic.

Here are some questions which you might like to ask, if they haven’t been answered already:

  • Who will give me my anaesthetic?
  • Do I have to have a general anaesthetic?
  • What type of anaesthetic do you recommend?
  • What are the risks of this type of anaesthetic?
  • Do I have any special risks?
  • How will I feel afterwards?

You will then be asked to wait until they call for you to come to the operating theatres. This may be a long time and it helps to have a book, toys or video to help pass the time. Often we can’t be exact about timing as it may depend on how long other procedures take earlier in the day. Once the call comes you may come on a trolley or walk to the theatres with a nurse. We encourage parents to come with their child, but only one may come into the room for the start of the anaesthetic.

You will be met by the reception staff who will check your name and other details.

Once all is ready you will then be taken to the anaesthetic room, just next to the operating theatre, where the anaesthetist and their team will begin your anaesthetic. Once you are asleep your parent will be escorted out of the room.

You will wake up in the recovery ward with special nurses looking after you. They will give you painkillers if you need them and also antisickness treatment if you feel sick. Once you are reasonably awake they will call the ward who will send a nurse with your parents to collect you.

Most people can have some water within half an hour or so of waking and a small snack soon after that. Day patients can go home provided they are not too sore and don’t feel sick. 

Please pay close attention to any advice given by the surgeon or the nurses.  The anaesthetist will usually leave instructions regarding pain relief.  If you aren’t sure about any part of this plan, please ask the nurses before you leave - it’s much easier for them to explain things face to face.

You should be given contact phone numbers before you go, just in case there is a problem.

If a problem does occur once you are home and you need advice, please phone the ward first - they will usually be able to tell you what’s best to do.

If you need to be seen then contact your own GP, or if out of hours follow the instructions given by the surgery.