Whether you are coming for an outpatient appointment or need to stay in hospital, here is some information to help you to prepare.

Preparing for your outpatient appointment

If you are coming to hospital for an outpatient appointment, please find some information below to help your visit go as smoothly as possible.

Make sure you know where you are going Your appointment letter or card will tell you where your appointment is. If you are not sure what hospital this is in, or where in the hospital it is, check on the Trust website or give us a call to find out on 01268 524900.

Let us know beforehand if you will need additional assistance If you have a disability, need interpreting services, or have any additional needs so that you get the most from your appointment, please let us know by contacting us before your appointment date.

Allow enough time for parking Please allow extra time before your appointment for parking.

Allow enough time for your appointment While we try to keep waiting time to a minimum, there may be times when clinics overrun, so you need to allow some extra time for this.

Some clinics run more quickly than others. If somebody arrives after you but is seen before you this does not mean that you have been forgotten. They may be attending a different clinic.

Please be aware that you may need to visit other departments in relation to your care during your visit. If so, you may need to allow up to another couple of hours for this. If this is the case you will be notified.

Bring something to read
You might not have time to read your book or magazine, but please come prepared to experience some waiting time.

Only bring a sample if requested
Not all patients need to bring a urine sample with them. Only bring one if you have been asked to.

Details of medication
Please bring with you the details of any current medication you are taking, including the dose.

If you can think of any questions you would like to ask when you get to hospital, write them down so you don’t forget them.

Preparing to come into hospital

If you are coming into hospital for an inpatient stay, whether overnight or for a few days, here is some information to help you to prepare.

Things to bring with you We recommend that you bring a minimal amount of belongings with you. Here is a guide of what you may need while you are in hospital.

Please do not bring large sums of money or credit cards and valuables into hospital with you.

Preparations you may need to make at home

Medicated skin wash All patients having an operation will be screened for Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus Aureus (MRSA). MRSA is carried harmlessly by many people on their skin and in their noses without causing any infection. If MRSA spreads to a wound or into the bloodstream it may cause an infection that requires treatment with antibiotics. For this reason, all patients are screened before their operation. If MRSA is found, you will be asked to use a medicated skin-wash before your operation.

Your consultant or nurse will explain any fasting arrangements with you. Please follow their instructions.

Making arrangements for coming home
Before you come into hospital, you may want to consider arrangements for when you are ready to return home. We recommend that a relative or friend drive you home if possible.

If you have had a general anaesthetic and have returned home on the same day, you will need to arrange for somebody to be with you for the first 24 hours.

If you can think of any questions you would like to ask when you get to hospital, write them down so you don’t forget them.

Arrival at the hospital
If you are having an operation, you will normally be asked to come to the hospital on the same day as your procedure however in some circumstances we may ask you to come into hospital the day before.

If you have any allergies, it is important that you let your consultant or nurse know.

You may need to have some routine tests, such as:

  • Blood tests
  • Urine tests
  • Weight and height

During your inpatient stay, you will find information on the Hospedia bedside TV (this section is free of charge), or you can click here to view.


Before you have any kind of procedure, whether it is blood test or surgery, your consent will need to be obtained.  This is where, following a discussion with healthcare staff, you give permission for the intended procedure to take place.

To gain your consent, your clinician will explain the intended procedure to you along with possible risks and complications.  If you have any concerns or questions, please make sure that you ask your nurse or doctor.

For further information on patient consent, please see the NHS Choices website at www.nhs.uk

Things you can do before your operation

If you are having an operation, there are things you can do leading up to it that can help with your recovery.

Stop smoking
Smoking before an operation increases the risk of developing complications afterwards, such as a chest infection, increased coughing and developing deep vein thrombosis (DVT).

Please be aware Basildon and Thurrock University Hospitals is a smokefree Trust, and you should not smoke anywhere in the buildings or grounds. So, it might be worth thinking about what arrangements you need to make to help you to cut down or stop smoking before your hospital stay.

Your GP will be able to give you advice and more information about stop smoking support groups, nicotine replacement products and medication. Call the NHS Smoking Helpline on 0300 123 1044.

Eat a healthy balanced diet
Being overweight causes undue stress and pressure on wounds leading to delayed healing and increased risk of wound infection. If you need help and advice to lose weight, your GP will help and may refer you to a dietician.

  • Eat a healthy balanced diet including fruit, vegetables, chicken and fish.
  • Stay within recommended alcohol limits

There is no need to stop drinking before your operation, as long as you remember to stay within the recommended units of alcohol, which are:

  • Men should drink no more than two to four units a day
  • Women should drink no more than two to three units a day

Drinking too much can contribute to ill health, can impact on the effectiveness of your medication, and can slow your recovery.

Stay active
Try to do some form of gentle exercise each day, but make sure you stay within your limitations and only do as much activity as your condition allows.

Leading a healthy lifestyle and being as fit as possible will help to ensure your body is better able to recover after your operation.

Things to expect after your operation

It is important that you remain as pain-free as possible after your operation. If you are experiencing any pain you should tell the nurse looking after you, who will do their best to relieve it with suitable pain relief.

It is important to remain active following surgery, as early activity reduces the risk of complications following an operation and will help your circulation.

You may lose your appetite for a while after the operation. This is quite normal and should improve gradually over time. While in hospital, it is important to eat something every meal time to keep your strength up. Once home, you may find it easier to eat little and often.

Before you leave hospital you should make sure you have:

  • A supply of tablets (if needed). If you leave hospital with medication, you will need to go to your GP who will prescribe further supplies if needed
  • The letter for your GP informing them of your recent operation and recovery.
  • A contact number to call if you have any concerns

You may feel tired when you get home. This is quite normal and you should rest when you feel you need to.

At first you may worry about how you are feeling, both physically and emotionally. Feeling a bit ‘low’ is normal and will pass.

If you have any questions or concerns about your medication when you leave hospital please contact the patient medicines helpline on 01268 593788, Monday – Friday, 2pm – 4pm, or contact your GP.