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Day surgery


What is day surgery?

Day surgery allows you to be admitted to hospital for surgery or a procedure and be discharged home on the same day. It's for people who do not need to stay overnight and makes the surgery more convenient for you.

Not all patients are suitable for day surgery. Your physical health and home circumstances will be assessed by a nurse either in the pre-assessment clinic before your surgery date or on the day of your surgery.

There is a single-sex policy in our waiting areas, which are for patients only. If you want to wait for a patient, staff will take your contact number and call when they are ready to be collected.

About your surgery

  • Before your surgery

    Please make sure you know which hospital to go to and plan your journey.  If you are not sure, please phone one of the telephone numbers at the top of the page and a member of staff will help you.

    For information on how to prepare and what to bring with you, read the relevant information leaflet below:

    • Having surgery at Guy's and St Thomas' Hospitals (PDF 209Kb) – this leaflet gives you information about what you can expect to happen when you have surgery in our hospital.

    • Having an anaesthetic (PDF 125Kb) – this leaflet gives you information about your anaesthetic, and advice about when you should stop eating before your surgery if this is required.
  • What to bring with you

      • Any medication you are taking
      • A dressing gown and slippers as even if you are not staying in hospital you will need these to go to Theatre, (the hospital will provide these if you don’t have them)
      • Though we try to avoid it, some patients may have to wait quite some time before going to theatre. Therefore, please bring something with you, such as a book or magazine to help pass the time.

    Please bring with you no more than is necessary for your hospital visit as there are not many storage facilities. Please do not bring valuables such as jewellery, large sums of money, multiple credit cards or expensive electrical items (except your mobile phone). There are no facilities to store valuables. The hospital will not be liable for loss or damage.

  • Changing or cancelling your surgery

    If you're unable to keep your appointment, please let us know as soon as possible, so we can rebook your appointment and give your original appointment to someone else.

    How to change or cancel your appointment

    • by calling the number on your admission letter
    • by calling our dedicated 24-hour appointment cancellation line on 020 7188 9900.

    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. 

  • Arriving in the day surgery unit

    Please give your name to the receptionist when you arrive.

    A nurse will take your blood pressure and pulse and make sure you are ready for the surgery. You will be given a gown to change into and be seen by the anaesthetist and surgeon.

    Every effort is made to keep waiting to a minimum. However, it is not always possible to predict how long each individual surgery will take. 

    St Thomas' Hospital has six operating theatres, and Guy’s has three, so you may see people who arrive after you going through before you, but this is because they are being seen by a different surgeon.

    Unfortunately, we have no capacity for relatives or friends to wait with you before your surgery. However, our receptionist will take your escort’s contact number and will call them when you are ready to go home.

  • During the surgery

    Each individual surgery is different. The surgeon and anaesthetist will explain to you what will happen during your surgery, before you sign a consent form. A consent form confirms that you agree to go ahead.

    A team of highly trained doctors and nurses will be with you and monitor your care throughout and after the surgery.

    Please be aware that receptionists are unable to provide your family and friends any details of your surgery or give an estimate of when you will be ready to go home. This is to protect the security and confidentiality of our patients.

  • After your surgery

    How long you need to stay in the unit depends on the surgery you have had and the anaesthetic you were given. We will:

    • give you advice on pain medication
    • explain and give you written information about any medication prescribed for you
    • explain how to care for your stitches if you have any, and tell you when they will be removed
    • talk to you about your care at home and give you written instructions
    • give you a written summary of the procedure and if needed, arrange an outpatient appointment for you.  This might be given to you or be sent in the post
    • send a letter to your GP, so he/she is aware of the surgery and any follow-up care needed.

    You will be able to leave when we are satisfied you are well enough to go home and there is a responsible adult to accompany you, if needed.

    It is important that you follow the advice we give you on recovering from the anaesthetic and your surgery.

    If you have a problem once you have left hospital, please telephone the day surgery unit on the numbers at the top of the page. We will also give you details of who to contact if you need to call us when the day surgery unit is closed.

Tell us what you think

We hope your experience with us is as pleasant as possible. If you have a question or compliment or concern, please:

  • speak to a member of staff caring for you
  • contact our Patient Advice and Liaison Service
  • complete our patient survey.


Tel (St Thomas' Hospital): 020 7188 3222

Tel (Guy's Hospital): 020 7188 1728 

Access guide

Accessibility information to support you.

Guy's Hospital day surgery access guide.

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St Thomas' Hospital day surgery access guide.

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