Overnight intensive recovery (OIR) unit

Caring for people who have had major surgery

Your stay on the overnight intensive recovery (OIR) unit

We care for people who have had major surgery. We have 11 beds.

You'll be under the care of:

  • anaesthetists
  • surgeons
  • nurses specialised in intensive care
  • physiotherapists

While you're on the unit, we'll:

  • monitor your recovery from anaesthesia
  • closely monitor your vital signs
  • prevent postoperative complications

You'll stay in the OIR unit for 6 to 48 hours. Once your condition allows, we'll transfer you to a high dependency unit (HDU) or ward to continue your treatment.

What to expect on the unit

The OIR unit can be noisy and busy at times. You might notice alarms that monitor your vital signs. These are there for your safety.

It is a mixed-sex unit but we do our best to maintain your privacy and dignity at all times.

After you wake up from surgery, you might have different tubes in you. This might feel frightening but they are there to help you recover.

You will be monitored closely and we might interrupt your sleep overnight to care for you. 

Visitor information

Speak to the nurse-in-charge for up-to-date information on visiting.

It is best if visitors come 2 hours after your operation so the effects of any sedation have worn off.

Please call the OIR unit on 020 7188 5617 before visiting.

Children under the age of 10 are not allowed into the unit.

Our visiting adult inpatient wards page has further information about visiting patients.

Please choose 1 person to phone the unit for information about your progress. The nominated person can share news with other members of your family and friends.

Please try to avoid calling us during busy times:

  • from 7am to 8am
  • from 7pm to 8pm

Ward rounds

Your team will see you every morning during their ward rounds, which usually start at 8.30am. The meeting your ward team page has more information about the general ward routine.

There will be a new team of nurses at the start of every nursing shift. If you have any questions or concerns, please talk to a member of the nursing team.

All staff caring for you will introduce themselves and wear an ID badge.


There are no set mealtimes on the OIR unit. After your operation you may not feel like eating straightaway, but we can order food for you as soon as you feel like it.

Our meals page has more information.

Contacting friends and family

Please do not use your mobile phone on the ward. 

There is a telephone on the unit that relatives can contact you on, but please keep these calls to a minimum. 

Your belongings

All your belongings will be stored in a locked store room on the ward where you were first admitted.

Contact us

Phone: 020 7188 5617

Critical care services

For more information, visit our critical care pages.

How to find us

St Thomas' Hospital
2nd floor, North Wing
Westminster Bridge Road
London SE1 7EH


From the main entrance, turn right at main reception, then left into the North Wing. Take the lift up to the 2nd floor and follow signs for the main theatres.

Last updated: August 2023

Do you have any comments or concerns about your care?

Contact our Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS)

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