Pre-assessment for surgery

The Pre-assessment Service prepares you for surgery. 

Adult patients who are due to undergo surgery are offered a pre-assessment appointment – sometimes this can be carried out on the same day as your outpatients appointment with the surgeon, sometimes it will be at a later date. The aim of the appointment is to ensure you are as fit as possible for surgery and anaesthesia, identify any problems or issues, and provide you with information about your admission.

The pre-assessment service runs from Clinic H at Freeman Hospital, and Clinic D at the RVI. The service is run by our nursing team, and led by consultant anaesthetists.

What does pre-assessment involve?

For fit and healthy patients undergoing minor surgery, the assessment may simply involve a health questionnaire, baseline observations (including blood pressure, height and weight), screening “MRSA” swabs, and advice on admission and fasting, all conducted by one of our nursing team. 


Blood tests, ECGs (heart tracing) and spirometry (basic tests of lung function) are conducted on the day if required. Abnormal results are reviewed by the nursing team, and brought to the attention of your GP or a consultant anaesthetist, as appropriate.


Patients with more complex health problems may be referred to one of the consultant anaesthetists (either by one of the pre assessment nursing team, or directly by the surgeon). This may involve just a review of your notes and test results, or a face to face consultation, depending on your medical history and the planned procedure. Following this review, further tests (or advice from other specialists) are requested as necessary.  Consultant review allows for thorough pre-operative assessment, including the identification and discussion of risk factors. It also enables anaesthetic planning, including post-operative pain relief and if necessary admission to a Critical Care Unit.  


Further tests

Sometimes we need further information about your health before your operation, and may ask you to go for more investigations. The most commonly requested tests are an Echocardiogram (an ultrasound scan looking at the structure and function of the heart) and Cardiopulmonary Exercise Testing (CPeT). The results of these can help us plan your anaesthetic and post-operative care, and give us more information about the particular risks of surgery to you as an individual.


CPeT testing is performed at the Freeman hospital, and measures the performance of the heart and lungs. You can get more information on CPeT.pdf.

Information about your admission

We aim to provide you with information about your admission to hospital. We can provide general information about having surgery and an anaesthetic, and in some cases written information about your particular operation. We may also give you advice about your medication, for example if there are particular medicines that we’d like you not to take on the day of surgery. Some patients already know the date of their operation when they come to see us in pre assessment, but others will still be waiting for a date. You can find out more on our patient information page.

Appointments and queries

The pre assessment appointment is an opportunity for us to ensure your admission for surgery goes as smoothly and safely as possible.  We aim to get things done for you as quickly as possible during your appointment; the time the appointment takes depends on your medical history and the operation you’re having, but you should expect to be with us for at least an hour.  If you are unable to attend, or have any other queries, please contact the relevant clinic:

  • Freeman Hospital, Clinc H, tel: 0191 224 8180
  • Royal Victoria Infirmary, Clinic D, tel: 0191 282 0425

Information leaflets

You can find a range of information leaflets on our patient information page.


The Royal College of Anaesthetists also has a lot of useful information on their website:

More information

You can get more information about pre-assessment for surgery from:

  • Freeman Hospital, Clinc H, tel: 0191 213 7281
  • Royal Victoria Infirmary, Clinic D, tel: 0191 282 0425

Meet the Team

Freeman Hospital Pre-assessment Services, Clinic H.  Tel.: 0191 2137281


Dr Chris Snowden – Pre-assessment Lead Clinician Freeman Hospital

Dr Karen Beacham – Clinical Director of Peri-op & Critical Care

Dr Geoff Bedford

Dr Ahmed Chisti

Dr Joanne McCheyne

Dr James Prentis

Dr Digby Roberts

Dr Gemma Timms

Dr Harriet Wood


Nursing Staff

Matron Sharon Thompson

Senior Sister Emma McCone     Tel.: 0191 2448180

Sister June Smart



Royal Victoria Infirmary – Pre-assessment Services, Clinic D.  Tel.: 0191 2820425


Dr Rhona Sinclair – Pre- assessment Lead Clinician RVI

Dr Kate Duffield

Dr David Hughes

Dr Julia Mörch-Siddall

Dr Karen Naru


Nursing Staff

Matron Sharon Thompson

Senior Sister Emma McCone     Tel.: 0191 2448180

Sister Bernadette Crittenden

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