Anaesthesia means ‘loss of sensation’. Medications used to induce anaesthesia are called anaesthetics. Anaesthetics are generally used during surgical operations to induce unconsciousness, they can also be used with drugs to prevent pain and discomfort and thereby enable a wide range of medical procedures to be performed safely. The two commonly used types are regional anaesthesia and general anaesthesia.
The anaesthesia department performs approximately 20,000 procedures each year and works closely with other departments in the hospital to ensure that patients are assessed preoperatively and all of them receive appropriate pain relief before, during and after surgery. The team is also involved in the care of patients in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU), High Dependency Unit (HDU), the obstetric unit and in the transfer of critically ill patients. The in-patient pain team works closely with the anaesthetics department.