Pre-assessment

Before your operation you will need to be seen in the pre-assessment clinic at the Admissions and Pre-assessment Unit in Chelsea or Sutton.

All tests performed at the pre-assessment clinic are taken to ensure that you are fit for surgery. They 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.

Pre-assessment clinic

The pre-assessment clinic is a nurse-led clinic and plays an important part in the preparation for your surgery. It includes an assessment of your general health and fitness before surgery by carrying out various tests and investigations. If you have more complex medical issues you may be seen in an clinic led by an anaesthetic consultant.

A pre-operative assessment appointment can take up to two hours. While waiting, refreshments are available.

Depending on the type of surgery you are having or if you have been assessed recently, it may be possible to carry out your pre-operative assessment over the phone.

Before your appointment

If you have any questions, please write them down and bring them with you so the nurse can answer them.

Bring a list of all the medications that you currently take, including their strength and how often you take them including supplements or herbal remedies you may be taking.

You can eat, drink and take your medications as normal on the day of your pre-assessment appointment.

Changing or cancelling your appointment

Please tell us as soon as possible if you need to change or cancel your appointment so we can offer your appointment to another patient.

Chelsea pre-assessment clinic: 020 7808 2405 or 020 7808 2406
Sutton pre-assessment clinic: 020 8661 3379 or 020 8661 3380

This appointment is important preparation for your surgery. You must come to this appointment or let us know if you need to cancel or change it.

At your appointment

Pre-assessment nursing staff will perform your pre-operative assessment which will involve taking a full medical/nursing and social history.

Routine observations will be recorded, which will include:

  • Blood pressure / pulse / temperature / height and weight.
  • An electrocardiogram (ECG) may be needed. This records the rate, rhythm and electrical activity of your heart. This is a simple test that takes about five minutes and does not cause any discomfort.
  • MRSA swabs maybe taken. This is to screen for MRSA bacteria that can cause infections. Any infection must be treated before you can have surgery.
  • A physical examination, so you may need to partially undress and lie down on the examination couch. This examination will be performed by the nurse, who will listen to your heart and lungs.

Following completion of the assessment you may require further tests:

  • blood tests
  • photographs
  • X-rays
  • CPET (cardiopulmonary exercise test)
  • echocardiogram.

Medical assessment

The nurse who performs your assessment will discuss their findings with the anaesthetist if required. The anaesthetist may wish to review you in the clinic to ensure you are fit for anaesthetic and discuss possible anaesthetic procedures and risks.

After your appointment

If we find that you have problems that we were not aware of, such as high blood pressure or diabetes, you will need to visit your GP for treatment.

If further tests are needed, the pre-assessment nurse will refer you to the relevant hospital department or your GP.

If everything is satisfactory, our nurses will explain the plan for the day of your surgery and answer any questions or queries that you may have.