People who are due to have surgery at St George’s can now watch three short films and an animation beforehand to help them prepare.

Coming to hospital can be a very anxious time, and even more so if coming for surgery under general anaesthetic. This was what past patients told staff involved in their care at a listening event in 2017, and so they thought some short, engaging films could reassure people in this situation.

The new films are set in St George’s Hospital, and using an actor and our own staff, show exactly what will happen in a way that is easy to understand. They complement the Trust’s innovative Get Set 4 Surgery sessions that patients can attend with their families to find out about ‘prehabilitation’ – the concept of preparing both physically and emotionally before surgery to reduce complication risks and speed up recovery.

The first film, Your pre-operative care, shows what will happen at the pre-assessment appointment. This is where we will check if people are medically fit to have a general anaesthetic.

The second film, Your day of surgery, explains that patients will need to stop eating and drinking, what to take to hospital, and which members of staff they may see.

The third, Your post-operative care, focusses on a patient’s recovery, medication, and the transition back home.

Consultant Anaesthetist Carolyn Johnston, was involved in making the films from the start, and even features in one of them.

She said: “Each year over 5,000 people have planned surgery at St George’s. In the waiting time before surgery, when patients feel most anxious, we are able to give them help and information to prepare both physically and mentally for the challenges ahead.

“Patients feel reassured because they know what to expect. These films make this vital information more accessible, and I’d like to thank everyone involved for their hard work in making them.”

The fourth film produced is a lively animation called Get Set 4 Surgery which expands on the theme of prehabilitation and covers the benefits of good nutrition, increasing activity, and smoking cessation prior to surgery.

As well as the films, a booklet has been produced which contains all the information a patient may need before, during, and after their surgery at St George’s.

Patients can use the links above to access these resources, or find them on the Trust’s website. They will also be signposted to them during their appointments at the hospital.

The films have been made possible thanks to a partnership with Macmillan Cancer Support to improve the experience of patients with cancer at St George’s.