University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust

What happens when I come in?

Your child might come to us as an emergency, arriving from the children's emergency department, their GP or local hospital.

We also see lots of children who are having planned (elective) surgery, and have seen a surgical consultant in outpatients. If this is the case, you'll receive a letter with your date to come to the hospital. This letter will also tell you the time you should arrive on the ward, and details about when your child will need to stop eating and drinking.


When you arrive on the ward, please go to the reception desk and give the ward clerk your child’s name. You'll usually be asked to wait with your child in the play room, rather than going straight to a bed.

Our surgical team will see you to discuss your child's procedure, and the anaesthetic team will discuss the general anaesthetic with you. You can ask any final questions at this point.

One of our nursing team will go through the admission paperwork, and ask all the necessary questions. We'll weigh your child, take their observations, and may ask for a urine sample. We appreciate your patience in making sure your child's records are correct.


We have lots of theatre lists going on at the same time, so a child that arrives after you may go to theatre before your child. We'll do our best to keep you informed of what's going on, but please feel free to ask if you have any concerns.

You'll be able to go down to theatre with your child, but depending on their age and condition you might not be able to go into the anaesthetic room. Please speak to the anaesthetist about what will be possible.


After surgery your child will normally go to recovery, unless an alternative has been discussed with you. When your child is ready, the ward will be contacted asking for you to go to recovery and sit with your child. When your child returns to the ward, they will have been allocated a bed and a nurse.

Please speak to one of our nurses if you have any concerns or questions.

There's space for one parent to stay on the ward in a pull out camp bed next to your child. We can provide basic sheets and blankets as bedding, but you're very welcome to bring your own. We have a parents' room with a fridge and microwave - please label and date any food that you bring in.

There is a Ronald McDonald House Charity hotel on the hospital site, but these rooms are allocated based on patient need and can't be pre-booked.


Family and friends are welcome to visit and spend time on the ward. As space is limited, two people can be at a bedside at a time. We do have a play centre which has more space for visitors. If you take your child off the ward, you'll need to sign out. Please ask one of the staff on the ward if you would like to do this.