Level 5
Torbay Hospital
Lowes Bridge
Torquay TQ2 7AA

Tel: 01803 654310/1

The Anaesthesia, ICU and Theatres Directorate includes the Department of Anaesthesia, the Critical Care Unit, General Theatres, Day Surgery Unit, Pain Services and the Hospital Sterilisation and Disinfection Unit (HSDU).


The Department of Anaesthesia provides:

  • Safe, effective anaesthesia and analgesia for patients undergoing surgery and other invasive procedures.
  • Pre-operative assessment of patients requiring surgery.
  • Treatment for patients suffering chronic pain (Pain Relief Clinic and Pain Management Programme).
  • Pain relief for mothers in labour.
  • Care of patients in the Critical Care Unit.
  • Critical Care Outreach Team caring for acutely sick patients on wards.
  • Acute Pain Team run by a Senior nurse and a Consultant Anaesthetist.
  • Involvement with the resuscitation service on the wards and in the Emergency Department (A&E).
  • Medical and other staff to escort critically-ill patients during inter-hospital transport.
  • Support of the Hospital Nutrition Team, especially in parenteral feeding techniques.
  • Training for career anaesthetists and intensivists, and also some doctors destined for general practice.
  • Participation in training of paramedics.

Pre-anaesthetic management

Some patients undergoing major surgery (such as Abdominal Aortic Aneurythm repair or laparotomy for bowel resection) or patients considered high risk due to significant medical problems will be seen in the high risk cardiopulmonary exercise testing (CPET) clinic.

In this clinic, patients will undergo a bicycle test to objectively measure their level of fitness and an estimation of the risk of harm from proposed surgery is discussed with the patient to aid further decision making and management.

Paediatric Anaesthesia

This is performed by an anaesthetist with particular experience in dealing with children. One parent is usually present at induction of anaesthesia for children unless it is more difficult or emergency case (a local anaesthetic is applied to the child’s hand to reduce the pain of venepuncture where intravenous induction is used). Induction with Sevoflurane is quite common and well-tolerated.

Obstetric analgesia and anaesthesia

The majority of mothers deliver without any intervention by anaesthetists. However, approximately 20% receive epidural analgesia in labour, and approximately 20% need anaesthesia for Caesarean section.

Day Surgery Unit

A comprehensive booking, pre-assessment surgery, and discharge process is provided and led by the Director of Day Surgery. The Government target is that in future 75% of all surgical procedures will be carried out as day cases. Post-operative follow-up includes audit of outcome and contact with your GP Surgery.

Acute Pain Team

The team provides advice and management of acute pain for patients throughout the hospital, for example post-operatively and following acute trauma. There is now widespread use of epidurals and patient-controlled analgesia techniques.

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