If you're considering having an operation or your GP has suggested you may need surgery, this guide is for you.

It will take you through all the steps in the process, from referral to recovery, so you're fully prepared and know what questions to ask at each stage.

Before you start, you'll need to decide which hospital you'd like to be referred to. Our tips on choosing a hospital can help, and you can also compare hospitals based on a range of performance measures, such as infection rates and patient satisfaction.

Once you've chosen your hospital, your GP will refer you to see a specialist at this hospital.

You can find out more about each stage of the treatment journey by using the links below:

  1. Seeing a specialist – an initial consultation to discuss your treatment options and agree what's right for you. 
  2. Preparing for surgery – what to do in the days leading up to surgery, and your pre-operative assessment.
  3. Day of the operation – arriving at hospital, information for visitors, and what happens before you go into theatre.
  4. After surgery – coming round from the operation and being discharged from hospital.
  5. Getting back to normal – general advice and typical recovery times.

How to compare hospitals

  • search for hospitals by surgical procedure
  • enter your postcode and the name of your operation
  • you will be taken to a page listing the hospitals that can carry out the operation
  • using the columns and drop-down menu, you can then compare the hospitals based on things such as performance, safety, complaints and facilities

Page last reviewed: 22/01/2013

Next review due: 22/01/2015