Service overview - Anaesthetics

Doctors in our departments give anaesthetic for patient operations. They provide support and are responsible for the following:

Acute pain services (pain relief after an operation)
Chronic pain services (pain relief in long-term conditions such as arthritis)
Critical care services (pain relief for those who have had a serious accident or trauma)
Obstetric anaesthesia and analgesia (epidurals in childbirth and anaesthetic for Caesarean sections).

AttendAnywhere video consultations for patients

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We've introduced video appointments to help us carry on seeing patients during the current coronavirus pandemic.

Many of our services are now using this resource. Visit our AttendAnywhere page to find out more and to watch a short video, which will help you understand how these video appointments will work.

What we do

The Anaesthetic department provides planned elective general anaesthetic services for all theatres and emergency anaesthetic services for orthopaedics, plastics, burns, obstetrics and general emergencies across our hospitals.

Anaesthetists play a central part in the management of sick patients, both in the operating theatre and in other areas. Together with the other members of the Critical Care team, they are involved in:

  • Critical Care Units
  • Obstetrics
  • Accident and Emergency
  • Resuscitation
  • Major accident care
  • Pain management
  • Patient transfer between hospitals
  • Before and after surgery care

What is anaesthesia?

Anaesthesia is used to make a patient unable to feel pain and works by blocking pain signals to the brain. There are several types of anaesthesia:

Local anaesthetic - used for minor procedures and tests to numb the nerves in the area where the procedure is taking place. You will be conscious during the procedure but you do not feel any pain.

Regional anaesthetic - used for larger or deeper operations where the nerves are harder to reach. Local anaesthetic is injected near the nerves in order to numb a larger area, but you remain conscious

Epidural anaesthetic - a regional anaesthetic used to numb the lower half of your body, which is often used for childbirth

Spinal anaesthesia - a regional anaesthetic that is used to numb your spinal nerves so that surgery can be carried out in this area

General anaesthetic - used for bigger operations when you need to be unconscious. The anaesthetic stops your brain recognising any signals from your nerves so you cannot feel anything

Sedation - for painful or unpleasant procedures that are otherwise minor. Sedation makes you feel sleepy and relaxes you both physically and mentally

You may be given your anaesthetic in one of the following forms, depending on which type you are having:

  • ointment, spray, or drops that are rubbed onto your skin
  • an injection into a vein
  • a gas that you breathe in

Before your procedure your anaesthetist will discuss the most appropriate anaesthetic methods with you and will explain any risks or side effects. They will make sure that you are safe throughout your surgery and that you wake up comfortably afterwards. They may also help with any additional pain relief required after your procedure.

Contact us

Basildon hospital - 01268 524900 extension 3422.

Broomfield hospital - 01245 514080

  • General Intensive Care: (E226) 01245 514305
  • Burns Intensive Care: (E220) 01245 516037
  • Pre-assessment General: (A301) 01245 515032
  • Pre-assessment Plastics: (E121) 01245 516013
  • Pre-assessment: 01245 513600 extension 3601.
  • Pain Relief Centre: 01245 514461

Useful links

For more information about your anaesthetic and patient information leaflets, visit the Royal College of Anaesthetists website at