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Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

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Pre-operative Assessment Service

This page is for the Pre-operative Assessment Service at the John Radcliffe Hospital and Churchill Hospital for planned surgery in one of the following specialties:

  • general surgery
  • urology
  • gynaeoncology
  • vascular
  • colorectal
  • hepatobiliary
  • upper GI
  • breast.

For appointments with Nuffield Orthopaedic Centre services, please see the individual services' web pages.

The pre-operative assessment clinic is a nurse-led clinic that specialises in preparing patients for their planned surgery. A pre-operative assessment is performed on all patients who are going to have an operation or a surgical procedure performed under a general anaesthetic.

The type of the pre-assessment clinic appointment depends on the nature of the planned operation and whether you have underlying medical problems that may influence your preparation for and recovery from surgery.

Appointments range from a pre-operative screen with a Nursing Assistant to a face to face appointment with either a specialised Pre-operative Assessment Nurse or a Consultant Anaesthetist.

If you are having major surgery, or have very complex medical problems, you might be offered an appointment for a cardio-pulmonary exercise test supervised by a consultant anaesthetist.

You can find out more about this test in this video.

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How long to allow for the appointment

The length of your appointment will depend on the type of appointment that you need. A pre-operative screen with a Nursing Assistant takes approximately 20-30 minutes. A face to face appointment with either a specialised Pre-operative Assessment Nurse or a Consultant Anaesthetist can take one to two hours, depending on the type of operation that you are having.

At the start of the assessment, your clinic nurse will let you know how long the assessment will take and which tests will be performed.

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What happens during the appointment

You might be asked to complete a questionnaire about your general health, fitness, previous operations and illnesses, and medication history. The Nursing Assistant, Nurse or Consultant Anaesthetist will go through your answers to these questions with you.

We will take a routine swab taken from your nose, to test for a type of bacteria. If your surgery requires you to have a skin incision, you may need to be treated for this bacteria first.

You will have your height and weight recorded, and have blood taken for specialist tests depending on the type of surgery that you are having.

If you are aged over 50 years, or there is a clinical reason, a heart trace (ECG) will be performed.

If you have asthma or COPD, simple lung sprirometery can be performed .

Please bring with you:

  • reading glasses if you need them, as we will give you some forms to fill in when you arrive
  • any questions or concerns, ideally written down, so that we can answer them
  • a printed copy of your current medicine prescription or the tablets you are taking, including their strength and how often you take them.

For routine pre-operative assessment appointments you can eat, drink and take your medications as normal on the day of your appointment.

If you are having a cardiopulmonary exercise test, please do not have any caffeinated drinks (e.g. tea, coffee, some fizzy drinks) for two hours before the test.

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After the appointment

If we discover any medical problems that might benefit from further treatment or investigation before your surgery, such as high blood pressure or diabetes, a member of the pre-operative assessment team will directly contact your GP to arrange for you to have a GP follow-up.

If further specialist tests or investigations are needed, the Pre-operative Assessment Nurse or Consultant Anaesthetist will refer you to the relevant hospital department or arrange these via your GP.

Opening times

  • Monday to Friday 8.00am - 5.00pm

Find us and contact us

John Radcliffe Hospital Pre-operative Assessment

  • Corridor A, Outpatients Blue Area, Level 2, John Radcliffe Hospital
  • Appointments and administration: 01865 857635
  • To speak to a nurse: 01865 220640

Churchill Hospital Pre-operative Assessment Clinic

  • Main Street, Level 1, close to the League of Friends Cafe and Day Surgery.
  • Appointments and administration: 01865 226892
  • To speak to a nurse: 01865 231938

You may bring someone if you wish, but due to our small waiting area we recommend no more than one other person comes along with you.

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