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Clinical staff member putting on a plaster cast on a patient's wrist

What is Ambulatory Trauma?

Here at St Peter’s Hospital, we run an ambulatory trauma service. This means patients with certain fractures or injuries that require surgery may be managed as outpatients and brought into the Day Surgery Unit for their operation on a specified date.

This prevents the need for patients to be admitted to hospital unnecessarily, and allows patients to continue with their lives whilst awaiting surgery.


So I need an operation, when will I be told when it will be?

You may have booked the operation date at the time of your outpatient clinic visit, otherwise you will be contacted with a date for your operation.

Normally, we will try to contact you within 5 days and give you a designated date and time (morning or afternoon) for your surgery. Some injuries require more urgent operations than others, and therefore some patients may have a longer wait for surgery than others. However, our trauma operating lists run daily and therefore all our patients can have surgery without an unnecessary delay.


Once I have been given a date for my operation, is this date final?

We endeavour to ensure that the date you are given is final. However, sometimes circumstances arise outside our control, which require a change to our operating lists. The very nature of a trauma surgery service means we can have patients come into hospital at any time, sometimes requiring emergency operations. If this happens, it may be that we have to reschedule your operation date but we will try and inform you and give you a new date for your operation as soon as possible. Very rarely, we have to cancel operations on the day, in which case we will give you a new date for your operation as soon as possible.


I had a swab taken from my nose and groin. What is this for?

As part of the infection control process for all our surgical patients, we require a swab to be taken. This is to screen for MRSA which some people may have even without any symptoms. Doing this allows us to treat affected patients before surgery, so that we can protect our patients from cross-infection and form potential complications that may occur post-operatively in those carrying MRSA.


Where do I turn up to on the day of my surgery?

You will need to arrive at the Day Surgery Unit at 7.30am if you are on a morning list, or at 11.30am if you are on an afternoon list. The Day Surgery Unit is on the third floor, along the main hospital corridor. Take the escalators up from the main entrance, turn left and then right and you will find signs on the right to guide you.


Will I have to fast before my operation?

If you are having a morning operation, you must not have anything to eat or drink from the midnight before. You may have some water only up until 7am on the morning of your operation. If you are having an afternoon operation, you must not have anything to eat or drink from 7am on the day of your operation. You may have some water only up until 11am.


What will happen when I arrive in hospital? Will I be seen by a surgeon?

Once you arrive, you will be seen by one of the nurses on the Day Surgery Unit. You will be admitted and given a hospital gown, anti-clot stockings on your legs, and a locker to place you belongings. One of the surgical team will see you and talk to you about your operation, and ask you to sign a consent form. This is an opportunity for you to ask any questions you may have. The surgeon will also place an arrow where the injury is – this is normal protocol to prevent wrong site surgery.


What if my operation is delayed or cancelled on the day?

Depending on the running of the list, your operation may be delayed till later on in the day. If this is the case, we ask you to accept our sincere apologies.

We try our utmost to ensure operations are not cancelled on the day. However, in very rare circumstances, this may occur, in which case someone will see you and explain the situation, and arrange for your operation to be rescheduled at another appropriate time.


How long will I remain in hospital for?

Most of our ambulatory trauma patients can go home the same day, provided you have someone at home who can look after you for 24 hours whilst the effects of the anaesthetic wear off. If for any reason, either before or after your operation, we feel that you may require a short hospital stay, we will let you know.


What happens after my operation? Will someone come and explain to me what was done?

Someone should come and see you after your operation and explain what was done. This will give you an opportunity to ask any further questions before your discharge. However, the operating surgeon is often still operating on other cases.

Therefore if you are well enough to go home early, it may be that you are not seen by the surgeon after the operation, but one of the nurses will be able to explain briefly what was done. You will also be given an appointment to see the surgeon in clinic, where you can ask any further questions.


What will happen when I leave the hospital? When will I be seen again?

Once you are ready to go home, we will arrange your paperwork, a copy of which will be sent directly to your GP. Where appropriate, we will give you a clinic appointment where we can see you again, review your wound, remove any stitches, and get any further X-rays if necessary.

In the meantime, if you have any problems related to your surgery or otherwise, you can present to the Emergency Department and someone will be able to see and assess you.


Who can I contact for more information, or if I have any problems?

If there is anything you are unsure about or require more information about your admission, you can contact our Orthopaedic Admissions Office on 01932 722235 between 0900-1600, Monday-Friday. Alternatively you can contact our Trauma Co-ordinator, Hazel Watters, via the main hospital Switchboard (bleep 5204).


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