The Operating Department at North Devon District Hospital has 9 theatres; 1 specialist eye (ophthalmology) theatre, 1 specialist gynaecology and breast surgery theatre, 1 obstetric theatre, 2 day surgery theatres and 4 general theatres. The 4 general theatres are located in the main theatre suite and are where all emergency, trauma and major surgery is carried out. The specially trained operating department practitioners, who support surgeons and anaesthetists in carrying out operations, cover the department 24 hours a day, seven day a week, all year round.
What happens when I come to theatres?
At the start of every operating session the whole team meets to discuss every patient and their individual needs so that everyone is well prepared for you and your surgery.
Before you come to theatres you will have been seen by your consultant (or a member of their team) and an anaesthetist who will ensure:
- that you have given your consent for the procedure to proceed,
- been well informed about your operation and
- are prepared for the your surgery.
When the operating theatre is ready for you the ward staff will either walk you to theatres or if necessary move you on a bed. Once in theatres you will be taken to an anaesthetic room where checks will be performed to ensure that you will be safe during your surgery. The anaesthetist will then give you either a local anaesthetic or general anaesthetic. If you are given a general anaesthetic you will be in a state of medically controlled unconsciousness. You will then be taken into the operating theatre.
Following your operation you will be taken to a recovery room where trained staff will support you whilst you recover from your anaesthetic. They will make regular observations to ensure you are as comfortable as possible. Once it has been determined that you are fit to return you to the ward/Day Surgery Unit, you will be taken back on your bed or trolley and the recovery team will hand you over to the ward nurses. If you are having day surgery you will be given refreshment and discharge instructions before you go home and you will be called by the team on the next working day to ensure that your recovery at home is going smoothly.
When will I go to theatre?
Before you arrive in the hospital, on the day of your operation an operating list will have been scheduled and agreed by your surgeon and anaesthetist. This will take into account which patients medically need to go in which order on the list, and the estimated length of time for each procedure. Sometimes procedures can take longer than anticipated or there is an emergency which interrupts the list, this can cause delays or cancellations. We make every effort to make sure that this does not happen. The nurses on the ward will keep you informed; please ask them for an update if you are waiting longer than you anticipated.