Enquiries: 01305 251150

Day Surgery Units

Updated 23 February 2021

Day Surgery Units at Dorchester and Weymouth hospitals are self–contained units with their own theatres and recovery areas. The nursing and medical staff rotate between the units, to maintain skills and enthusiasm. This also ensures uniformity of standards of care for our patients.

Our aim in the Day Surgery Unit is to make your stay as comfortable and as pleasant as possible. It is important that you take note of any special instructions.

There is a possibility that you will be nursed in a mixed sex unit. Please be assured that your privacy will be respected and we will be sensitive to your needs.

It is advisable to take regular pain relief for twenty four hours prior to your admission.

If you cannot keep your appointment for any reason, please inform the admissions office as soon as possible, on the number specified on your letter.

Please be aware that the time stated on your admission letter is an arrival time and not an appointment time. The time of your procedure will depend on the order of the operating list. The nurses will advise you of the list order.

If you have any questions or worries regarding your admission, please contact the pre assessment team on 01305 254775. Please leave a message on the answer phone service if there is no one available and they will contact you at their earliest convenience. This might not be on the same day that you leave a message.

Preparing for your procedure

  • Please do not bring anything of value with you to the unit
  • Please bathe or shower before coming in for your procedure
  • Please remove all nail varnish, make up, jewellery and piercings (which can be easily removed) before coming in for your procedure
  • Please ensure that you wear loose, comfortable clothing which is easy to put back on when you go home
  • Please bring your repeat prescription form or regular medication with you
  • It is advisable to bring a dressing gown and slippers to wear while you are waiting for your procedure, but only bring essential personal items as there is very limited space and storage available
  • It is advisable to arrange for a friend or relative to collect you following your procedure. However, depending on the extent of your procedure or personal circumstances, this may not always be required

Depending on your work, you may require time off following your procedure. Please discuss this with the nurses on the unit before your procedure.

Procedures under general anaesthetic or sedation

Please adhere to the above general instructions plus the following:

  • It is essential that you follow the special instructions regarding restrictions on eating and drinking. Please do not eat for six hours prior to your admission time. This includes fizzy drinks, chewing gum and milk. Please only drink water up to two hours before admission time
  • If you are coming in to the Day Surgery Unit for a procedure on an afternoon list, please try to get up to eat an early breakfast before 7am
  • You must have somebody available to collect you and to stay with you for twenty four hours following a general anaesthetic or sedation
  • You are advised not to smoke or drink alcohol for 24 hours before your admission

Procedures under regional anaesthesia

Please adhere to the general instructions plus the following:

  • It is essential that you follow the special instructions on your admission letter regarding restrictions on eating and drinking
  • You must have somebody available to collect you and it is recommended that you have someone to stay with you for twenty four hours following a procedure under regional anaesthetic

Your stay in Day Surgery

Please report to Day Surgery Unit you are attending at the time stated on your admission letter. When you arrive at the unit you will be greeted by a member of staff who will direct you to the recovery bay where the nurses will prepare you for theatre.

The Day Surgery team consists of registered nurses, operating department practitioners and theatre support workers.

The anaesthetist and surgeon will see you before your surgery and ask you to sign a consent form if not already completed.

Your safety is one of our primary concerns. Wear slippers or flat shoes with a good grip during your stay with us. Move yourself whenever you can. Listen to what our staff are saying to you and follow their instructions. Assist and co-operate at all times with our staff when they are helping you to move.

Please ensure that you have adequate supplies of pain relief such as Paracetamol or Ibuprofen at home. Generic or supermarket’s own brands are as effective as the more expensive products. Prior to discharge, medication that cannot be bought at a chemist or local supermarket may be prescribed by the doctors and dispensed by the nurses, if deemed necessary.

Any follow up appointments will either be made on the day of the procedure by the ward clerk and given to you on discharge from the unit or posted to your home address if this is not possible.

The hospital car parks are ‘pay and display’. There is a charge for the first hour at Dorset County Hospital but permits are available for patients and relatives needing to stay longer. Please ask at the reception desk on arrival to the Day Surgery Unit.

After your procedure

Before you can be discharged, you must have had something to eat and drink, be able to mobilise safely, have stable observations and adequate pain control. Following some procedures you must also be able to pass urine.

Before leaving the unit, the nurses will discuss any post operative instructions and care with you and provide you with appropriate advice leaflets.

Following discharge

Following discharge, if you have any concerns on the day of the procedure, please contact the Day Surgery Unit. If you have any concerns after this time, please contact your GP, the out of hours service or NHS Direct.


You will need to arrange transport to and from the Day Surgery Unit because patients who have had sedation or general anaesthetic are not permitted to drive for a minimum of 24 hours after the procedure.

In the interests of your personal safety, using public transport following the procedure is not an option.

Patients having surgery under local anaesthetic may be allowed to drive home but this will depend on the surgery undertaken.

Advice for carers

Sedation or general anaesthetic can leave patients feeling light headed and tired. It is estimated that the effects of anaesthesia take at least 24 hours to wear off. Therefore it is important that the patient is not left alone during this period and that they do not drive, drink alcohol or operate any machinery such as kettles, cookers or work related appliances.

In certain instances, some patients may feel sick or actually be sick. This is sometimes triggered by the car journey home. Although this is not a common side effect, you should be prepared for it by having a bowl and tissues to hand which can be provided by the Day Surgery staff.

Generally, the patient will feel nothing more than drowsy and will wish to be left peacefully to rest. They should be encouraged to do this and avoid chores.


You may find that the patient, for a variety of reasons, may need assistance with taking their pain relief, antibiotics or with the application of any prescribed ointments.

The Day Surgery nurses will explain what medications should be taken by the patient and when they are next due. It may also be necessary to collect additional prescriptions from your chemist.

Wound care

The need to assist the patient with their wound will vary according to the type of surgery. The most common request made of carers is that they assist the patient in reducing the wound dressing. This means taking off the bandage or dressing and putting a supplied, fresh dressing over the area.

It is possible for the patient to arrange to see a practice nurse at the patient’s GP surgery if you are unsure of how to do this. It may also be requested that carers look at the wound to observe for any signs of redness, swelling or discharge. This is particularly important if the wound is in an area that the patient cannot see themselves eg. the patient’s back.

If you have any concerns on the day of the procedure, please contact the Day Surgery Unit as stated on the back of the leaflet or as otherwise advised.

The patient may need to have stitches removed or their wound re-dressed. The patient will need to make an appointment with the practice nurse at their GP surgery or attend the hospital’s dressing clinic for this to be done. It is important that the appointment is made for the date recommended. The patient will be given a hand written letter for the practice nurse on discharge to take with them to the appointment. The patient may also be given wound dressings if deemed necessary.

At home

If you have young children at home, you may wish to think about extra help in the home to assist with them. The patient’s recovery will be aided by rest and relaxation. With this in mind, noise and disturbance should be kept to a minimum.

Depending on the type of surgery, the patient may not be able to drive for a period of time following the procedure. This should be discussed with the nursing staff or surgeon before leaving the unit.

It is important to remember that recovery from surgery will vary between people. You will need to discuss with the patient how much support and care they may need from you following their procedure.

If the patient is happy for you to be involved in their discharge, it is often helpful to sit in and listen to the advice given by the nurses. Your involvement is particularly helpful as patients who have had a general anaesthetic or sedation often forget information that is shared with them. Day Surgery staff value the contribution of carers and are happy to work together for the benefit of the patient.

Contact details

Dorchester Day Surgery Unit - 01305 254500
Easton Day Surgery Unit - 01305 255771
Weymouth Day Surgery Unit - 01305 762666