It is important that you understand the procedure you are
undergoing, the expected outcome and the possible complications
and/or side-effects. There will be several opportunities for you to
ask questions or obtain information.
The outpatients' clinic is the best place to have an in-depth
discussion about your procedure with your surgical team. They
should discuss with you what the procedure involves, what they
expect the outcome to be and what the risks are. You may be asked
to sign the consent form at this point too (see the "consent"
section below for details).
However, should you have any further questions or need more
information, there will be opportunities to ask at the
Pre-operative Assessment Clinic and on the day of surgery.
Your surgical team will not be able to tell you about your
anaesthetic in any great detail.
You are likely to meet your anaesthetist either at the
Pre-operative Assessment Clinic or in the Day Surgery Unit itself,
depending upon your hospital. They will discuss with you the method
of anaesthesia (and the relative pros and cons should more than one
way be available) and any common side effects, such as a sore
throat afterwards. Sometimes, they may recommend a specific
procedure such as a regional nerve block for limb surgery. If so,
they will discuss with you why and how it is performed and any
potential complications or side-effects. They may ask you to sign a
separate consent form for such a procedure.
The anaesthetist will tell you about the monitoring they use
while you are asleep and the pain relief they will use during the
procedure. They are also the best person to talk to about
post-operative pain relief and anti-nausea measures.
Your anaesthetist will not be able to tell you about your
surgical procedure in any great detail.
Formal consent to both surgery and anaesthesia needs to be
agreed. It is important that you properly understand and give
informed consent to the whole planned procedure. It is common for
your consent to be sought some time prior to surgery, possibly in
your out-patient clinic or at your pre-operative assessment.
Whenever consent is given, you need to be happy that you have had
sufficient information for long enough to reach a decision. If you
sign the consent form in advance, you may be asked to confirm your
signature on the form immediately prior to the procedure and