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Surgical admissions lounge


This page is for patients who have been asked to come to the surgical admissions lounge before their surgery. It explains what it is and the care you can expect while in the lounge. 

About the surgical admissions lounge (SAL)

This is a non-ward area for patients to wait in before their operation. 

If you have been asked to come to the lounge, it means you have been assessed as being fit enough to wait for your surgery in a non-ward area. 

  • Why have I not been asked to come to a ward?

    Patients on the wards need to go home (be discharged) before beds are available for new patients having surgery. The SAL allows you to be admitted and prepared for your surgery before a bed is available.  This helps the operating lists to start on time and makes sure that the surgery time available is used efficiently. 

  • What to bring with you

    • Please bring the green medications bag that you were given in the pre-operative assessment clinic and all your medications.
    • 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.
    • A dressing gown and slippers – 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).

    • You can bring a friend or relative with you, but the SAL is quite a small area, so we ask that only one adult comes with you.  Please do not bring children or babies.
    • Please only bring a small overnight bag with a change of clothes, toiletries and reading material - just what you need for the day.  Ask a relative or friend to bring the rest of your belongings to the ward when they visit you.  Please do not bring any valuables.

    Also see the general inpatient information on how to prepare for coming into hospital.

  • What time do I need to get there?

    You will be given an arrival time in your admission letter, which may be as early as 7am.  This allows: 

    • the nursing staff to prepare patients and ensures all patients are ready on time
    • your surgical team and the anaesthetist (specially trained doctor who cares for patients having an anaesthetic) to see you before the team begins operating. 

    If you are travelling from outside London and are worried you will not be able to arrive by 7am, please call your admissions team to discuss this.

  • What happens when?

    Once you are admitted to the SAL you will:

    • be seen by your consultant or a member of his/her team.  You may be seen by an anaesthetist
    • have some baseline observations recorded, such as your blood pressure, pulse rate and temperature.  Where necessary you may be sent for further tests
    • be prepared for theatre based on you position on the operation list.

    You may be asked to change into an operation gown and hospital dressing gown ready for surgery straight away, or you may be asked to change later. We will show you where you can change in private. Your clothes and property will be placed into your own patient's property bag. This will have your name written on it and will be taken to your ward once you have left the SAL for your surgery.

    The first patient on an operating list will normally go in to theatre at 8.10am.  How long you have to wait will depend on your position on the operating list.  We know waiting can make patients nervous so we will keep you updated, but please do ask a nurse if you are concerned.

    When the theatre team are ready for you a member of the team will collect you from the SAL.  After the pre-operative checks you will be walked to the anaesthetic room where you will meet your anaesthetist.

    Please note:

    • You are not allowed to use your mobile phone in the SAL.  However, you can use it in the lift lobby.
    • You must not eat or drink anything.  If your companion needs to eat or drink, we ask that they leave the SAL to do this.
  • Keeping friends and family informed

    The nursing staff will tell you which ward you will be staying on, its location and contact telephone numbers. 

    If no one has come with you to the SAL you can contact a relative or friend and let them know just before you go to theatre. 



Surgical Admissions Lounge at Guy’s Hospital
Tel: 0207188 9735 (7am to 5pm, Monday-Friday)

Surgical Admissions Lounge at St Thomas’ Hospital
Tel: 020 7188 0834 (7am to 5pm, Monday-Friday)

Patient information leaflets

Having surgery at Guy's and St Thomas' Hospitals (PDF 209Kb)

Access guide

Accessibility information to support you.

St Thomas'

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