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Staying in hospital

Pre-operative Assessment Clinic

All patients are assessed by the Pre-operative Assessment Clinic to confirm whether they are fit for surgery before they are booked in for a planned operation or procedure.

As an inpatient

Maidstone Hospital

When you attend Maidstone Hospital for a planned operation or procedure, you will begin your stay at the Admissions Lounge, which is where you can relax while you wait for your operation and your visitors can wait with you.

Patients are requested to phone the Admissions Lounge the day before their planned surgery between the hours of 3.30pm and 4.30pm when you will be advised of your arrival time. Nil by mouth instructions will be reiterated and additional instructions will be given if your operation time is planned later on the next day.

Tunbridge Wells Hospital

When you attend Tunbridge Wells Hospital for a planned operation or procedure, you will be asked to go to the ward directly, or for day surgery cases to go to the waiting area in the Short Stay Surgical Unit.

Helpful information about your stay in hospital

In order to make your stay in our hospitals as smooth as possible, we have put together some information on what to expect when you arrive and some checklists on what to bring with you. Prior to your stay, please also watch this brief patient safety video on how you can help look after yourself while in our hospitals

Bringing your medicines with you

When you come into hospital for a planned operation or procedure, it is very important that you bring all your medicines with you.  We need you to do this so that we can ensure that we give you the appropriate treatment.

You need to bring in all of the medicines that you are using, including any herbal medicines, vitamins and medicines that have been bought for you.   If you are a carer escorting a patient, please make sure that you bring all of the patient’s medicines.

Please make sure you bring the medicines in their original boxes and bottles that the pharmacist put them in, or that you bought them in.

What to bring with you

When you come to the Trust for a planned operation or procedure, it is best to keep all personal belongings to a minimum.  Please do not bring any valuable items with you as the Trust cannot accept liability for items that are lost or damaged during your stay.

To make your stay as comfortable as possible we have put together a list of essential items that you will need to bring with you:

Day surgery cases

  • medication
  • dressing gown
  • slippers

Inpatient cases

  • Any medication that you need to take
  • Toiletries: soap, shampoo, deodorant, flannel, shaving equipment (men), toothbrush and toothpaste (or denture cleanser and container)
  • Comb/hairbrush
  • Tissues
  • Clothes: pyjamas/nightdress, dressing gown, underwear, day clothes
  • Slippers
  • Shoes

You may also wish to bring with you:

  • Walking stick or walking aid that you normally use
  • Drinks, such as squash
  • Small amount of loose change for newspapers etc

What to expect prior to your admission

We will write to you to let you know the date of your operation or procedure.  If you are unable to attend on that day for any reason you must contact the appointments team in the Clinical Administration Unit as soon as possible to arrange an alternative date.

Most patients are admitted on the day of the planned operation or procedure. We will advise you if you need to come in the day before your operation.

The day before your operation

You must telephone the Admissions Lounge between 3.30pm and 4.30pm to confirm your admission time

Once your admission time has been confirmed you will be asked to come in to the Admissions Lounge at Maidstone Hospital or straight to the ward or short stay surgical unit at Tunbridge Wells Hospital.

When you ring for your admission time, you may be asked to wait at home and come in to the Admissions Lounge / ward later on.

If you are to stay at home, then you will be asked for a travelling time to the hospital.  Do not worry if you have a long way to travel, this information is all taken into account when admitting you to the hospital.

If you need transport to get to the hospital for medical reasons, please let our staff know as soon as possible so that we can make suitable arrangements for those patients that qualify.

On the day of your operation or procedure

You must not eat anything from 2am onwards on the day of your operation or procedure. You may be asked not to take certain medication, which will be discussed with you during your appointment at the pre-assessment clinic or with medical staff prior to your procedure.

If your planned operation is cancelled

If your planned operation has to be cancelled then the Clinical Administration Unit will contact you to let you know the new date of your operation or procedure.

Catering on the ward

During your stay in hospital, you will be offered a choice of meals delivered directly to the wards. Three meals a day as well as beverages are provided, and all meals are designed to meet patients’ needs.

Please tell your nurse if you have any special dietary requirements. Special menus are available to cater for vegetarian and cultural needs. You should complete the menu sheet on the day you arrive. It will be your choice for lunch and supper the next day.

The Trust operates a Protected Mealtimes policy. We welcome visitors who wish to help their relative or friend at mealtimes.

If you require a special therapeutic diet and are unable to select a suitable meal from our menu, the ward team will help you to speak to a dietician.

Your stay on the ward

Each ward has its own routine and staff will be happy to answer any questions you have and to discuss any concerns.

No Smoking Policy

Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust operates a strict No Smoking Policy.

Mobile phones

We ask that mobile phones are switched off in certain areas of the hospital. Mobile phones may be used in the main public areas of the hospital. There are signs in areas where you must switch off your phone.

Bedside TV, radio, telephone and internet

TV screens are not provided at Maidstone Hospital but patients are allowed to bring DVD players as long as you are considerate and use headphones or keep the volume low so as not to disturb other patients.

Patients at Tunbridge Wells Hospital have wall mounted flat screen TVs with freeview channels.

Both hospitals have free public WiFi.

Staff identification

All staff should wear an ID badge including their photograph to help you identify who everybody is.

Patient identification

When you are admitted you will be given a wristband with your name and patient number. Please check your details are correct and inform ward staff if they are not.

Moving around the hospital

Sometimes you may leave the ward or hospital for tests or investigations. If so, staff will arrange an appropriate escort.

You should always let the nurse in charge know if you want to leave the ward or hospital for any reason, and how long you expect to be away. You may be advised by staff not to leave without an escort. This is for your safety and wellbeing.

Infection control

All patients and visitors should use the alcohol gel provided to clean their hands as they enter and leave any ward or department in the hospital. Read our visiting hours page or the infection prevention page for more information on how you can help reduce infections at our hospitals.

Interpreting services

As part of our commitment to ensuring equal access to our services and facilities, the Trust offers a free professional interpreting service for our patients.

If you require interpreting services, your GPs should inform the Trust when referring you for treatment, so that an interpreter can be booked in advance. Where this is not possible, ask (or have a friend or relative ask) your ward or department to arrange an interpreter.

Some staff you will meet


On admission to the ward you will be looked after by a nurse on duty, other nurses and healthcare assistants will look after you when your named nurse is off duty.

At the start of every shift you can expect the nurse who will be looking after you to come and introduce themselves, so you always know who to call.

Every ward has a Sister/Charge Nurse who is responsible for the overall management of the area. Don’t hesitate to ask to see them if you have any questions or concerns.


The name of your Consultant is usually shown above your bed. He/she will visit you regularly, but you will also be seen by other doctors in the team. They will discuss your medical condition and treatment with you. Make a note of any questions you want to ask.


Pharmacists will visit to check that your medication is correct and that you have enough supplies. Please do not hestitate to ask them if you have any questions regarding your medication.

Discharge from hospital

Being discharged or transferred

It is important to help you, your carer, relatives or friends understand and prepare for your discharge or transfer from hospital.
Our discharge leaflet will give you detailed information and advice about being discharged or transfered from hospital.

Who makes the decision on when you are discharged?

  • Your consultant, doctor or nurse in charge will decide when you are ready to leave our care
  • Healthcare professionals will work with you and your relatives/carer to ensure that your discharge is at the right time and to a safe, clinically appropriate environment
  • It is our policy to ensure that every patient will be given an expected date for discharge within 48 hours of admission.

On the day of discharge

  • You can be discharged on any day of the week including weekends and bank holidays, and where possible we will aim to discharge you by 10.00am
  • You may be asked to leave your bed space and wait in the discharge lounge

Discharge Lounge

We provide the comfort of a Discharge Lounge at both Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells hospitals while you are waiting to be collected by a friend or relative.

If you are waiting for medication, please be aware that it can take up to four hours from when the prescription is written for your medication to be dispensed and sent to the discharge lounge.

Before you leave hospital

It’s a good idea to consider making some of the following arrangements before you leave:

  • Suitable transport to collect you on discharge day
  • Suitable clothing and footwear to leave hospital
  • Access to your property for example keys
  • Adequate food supplies and heating at the property you are returning to

Our healthcare professionals will keep you fully informed about what to expect when you leave hospital.

Talk to us

If you have questions about being discharged from our hospitals, please speak to the nurse in charge of your ward.

Alternatively, please contact our Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS) on 01622 224960 (Maidstone Hospital) or 01892 632953 (Tunbridge Wells Hospital). You cal also contact the PALS team by email