The Anaesthesia and Theatres department is one of the largest departments at the Royal. The department cares for patients before, during and after surgery or other procedures.  


Our highly experienced and skilled team provide a safe and leading-edge anaesthetic service to all clinical specialities. Our team comprises of:

  • Matron
  • Anaesthetists 
  • Theatre practitioners:
    • Nurses
    • Operating Department Practitioners (ODP)
    • Healthcare Assistants (HCA)
  • Dedicated theatre porters
  • Recovery practitioners 
  • Admin staff

An anaesthetic stops you from feeling pain during an operation, procedure, or treatment. There are different types of anaesthetic – you can read more in the drop-down options below.

If you have an operation, our team will care for you in the time period you are in hospital for. This includes the pre-operative (before surgery), intra-operative (during surgery), and post-operative (after surgery). 

The department also provides services to:

We also support services at Clatterbridge Cancer Hospital, located next door to the Royal Liverpool.


The Royal’s Theatres Department provide a safe and efficient surgical service for elective (planned), day case and emergency surgery, 24 hours a day.

Comprising of 18 operating theatres, Theatres Admissions Unit (TAU) and one state-of-the-art recovery suite, the highly skilled department cover a wide range of surgical specialties and procedures.

The Theatres Admissions Unit (TAU) is also where many day case procedures are performed. 

The theatres floor also hosts Interventional Radiology, Lithotripsy (shock wave treatment for kidney stones) and a CT scanner.

More information

Patients are referred for surgery by their physician or surgeon.

Please note, the Theatres department is accessible only by the central lifts. If you have a lift phobia, please notify your care team in advance and arrangements to support you can be made.

Royal College of Anaesthetists

There is a host of useful information for patients on the Royal College of Anaesthetists website

This includes detailed explanations on what an anaesthetist is, how to prepare for surgery, informative leaflets and videos.

The choice of anaesthetic is determined by the type of operation you are having:

  • Local anaesthetic: This is an injection to numb a part of your body. You stay awake but do not feel pain.
  • Regional anaesthetic: This is an injection to numb a larger part of your body (such as an arm or leg). You stay awake but do not feel pain.
  • General anaesthetic: This gives a state of controlled unconsciousness. This is like being asleep and you do not feel pain.
  • Sedation: This is when you are given a medicine to make you feel sleepy and relaxed.
  • Epidural / spinal: This is an injection to numb a part of your body. You stay awake but do not feel pain.

If you have been told that you require surgery, you will be notified by a letter and given an admission date and time to attend. This is called your admission letter. Please read the instructions carefully and any specific pre-operative information, including advice regarding medication or eating and drinking.

If you have any concerns regarding the information that you have been sent, please notify the hospital prior to your admission.

If your procedure is under a general anaesthetic, you will be invited to attend a pre-operative assessment (pre-op) prior to your admission date, this is to ensure that you are fit for surgery.

Before your operation, you might also want to consider packing the following items:

  • A nightdress or pyjamas
  • Clean underwear
  • Dressing gown and slippers
  • Small hand towel
  • Toiletries – soap, toothbrush, toothpaste, shampoo, deodorant
  • Sanitary towels or tampons
  • Razor and shaving material
  • Comb or hairbrush
  • Book or magazines
  • Small amount of money
  • Your usual medication, and a list of the doses for each medicine.

Before surgery

On arrival to theatre, we will aim to make your stay in the department as comfortable as possible, prior to your operation. Patients are invited via staggered admissions, which supports a fast and efficient process.

Once you arrive, please visit Theatre Reception and you’ll be asked to wait in the waiting area. You’ll then be met with a member of staff who will take you through to the Theatre Admissions Unit (TAU).

You’ll then be booked in by our nursing team before being cared for by our clinical team who will complete the check in process. You may be asked some questions to ensure we have all the information we need.

The theatre team will send for you when they are ready to perform your operation. Your details will be checked again, before you are escorted into the anaesthetic room to receive the anaesthesia you are having for your operation.

You will be monitored throughout your procedure. This includes your pulse, oxygen levels, blood pressure and ECG.

Following surgery

Following your procedure, you will be transferred into a recovery area, where you can recover from your operation. Depending on your procedure, you may return straight back to TAU.

We will continue to monitor you in recovery and will only discharge you back to the ward or TAU, when we are happy that you are fully conscious and comfortable.

If you have had a general anaesthetic, you can expect to feel a little disorientated and sometimes even a little tearful. This is normal and quite common. 

When you are ready to leave recovery, the recovery staff will call the ward to collect you and you will be discharged from our care back to the ward for further care. If you are on TAU, you will be discharged home with all the relevant discharge information, such as aftercare, medication or an outpatient appointment.