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Day unit - F3 (paediatrics)

Paediatric Wards

Ward F3 is a 26 bedded children’s ward caring for children up to their 16th birthday. We look after children requiring day surgery, short stay admission, procedures, assessments and infusions.

About us

F3 is an elective admissions unit, we are the start of the journey for most of the planned surgical patients within paediatrics. We also cater for day admissions, regular infusions and sleep studies. F3 has 6 overnight beds for patients requiring a short admission following surgery. F3 also houses POAC which is our Pre-anaesthetic admissions clinic. All children having a general anaesthetic for surgery will come through this clinic to have a health screening questionnaire completed and any investigations required preoperatively.

Information for patients

A parent / carer is welcome to accompany their child through their admission on F3. They will be able to accompany them to the anaesthetic room and also in the recovery room post operatively. We provide a carers bed which will enable you to stay with your child overnight, we also have a parents room on the ward which is available for you to use to make food and drink throughout your stay.

On arrival to the ward a member of staff will either take you to your allocated bed space or show you to our waiting room / play room if your child’s procedure is later in the day. If your child needs to stay overnight we have facilities for one parent / carer to sleep next to them. Whenever a healthcare professional comes to see you during your stay, they should explain what they are doing or plan to do. If they don’t – or you don’t understand what they’ve said – don’t be afraid to ask them to explain. An accompanying adult must be present when any child is seen or examined by health professionals in the Trust.

Planning your stay

We will contact you the evening before admission and provide you with nil by mouth times for your child and answer any questions you might have. There may be a period of waiting before surgery so it may help to bring some toys / games / books to distract your child. We do have toys, games and DVDs available in the playroom to help make waiting easier. Please bring in any medications that your child is currently taking.

CUH Directions mobile app

The CUH Directions mobile app is for patients and visitors.

It helps you to find your way around Addenbrooke’s and the Rosie hospitals, making it easier to locate clinics, wards and other facilities on our campus.

CUH Directions – mobile app

On your arrival

You will be checked in to the ward by the ward clerk and may be allocated a bed or asked to wait in the playroom until a bed is available. On arrival, you will also be given a leaflet which explains what facilities are available on the ward and where things are during your stay. Once your bed is available, your allocated nurse will show you around the ward and ask for information about your child to enable us to care for them appropriately. You will be given the opportunity to ask questions at any time throughout your child’s stay. If your child is admitted for a surgical procedure, they will be allocated a bed space when one is available and required, so that you can begin make yourself and your child comfortable.

The ward also operates as a Pre Assessment Unit, so you may be asked to come to the area pre-operatively for investigations.

If your child requires admission overnight, you will either stay in one of the eight overnight beds on Ward F3 or be transferred to another paediatric inpatient ward. One family member is permitted to stay overnight and a bed next to your child will be provided.

Visiting hours

  • There are no set visiting times for parents, however only one adult can be present at the bedside at any given time.
  • If your child is attending for theatre, please be aware that only one parent is allowed into the anaesthetic room.
  • When you have visitors, please be considerate of other patients who may be feeling very unwell. A lot of noise or commotion may prevent them from resting. Visitors must be discussed with the nurse in charge or the ward manager.
  • Please do not attend the hospital if you are suffering from any potential infectious condition.

Plan of care

Following admission, either from home, the Emergency Department, or another ward, your allocated nurse will complete some paperwork, checking details with you. They will then take and record your child’s pulse rate, temperature, oxygen levels and breathing rate. They will also need to be weighed, have their height measured, and have swabs taken for MRSA. These are important measurements to ensure that your child is fit and healthy for the procedure. They also provide a baseline prior to undertaking any procedure or investigations.

If your child is having an operation, the doctors (both medical and surgical specialties) and anaesthetist (if necessary) will then visit you and your child on the ward. They will complete / check the consent form outlining the procedure to be undertaken, having fully explained everything to you. This will give you the opportunity to ask questions regarding the procedure.

Our play specialist will visit you and discuss having an operation with your child to help prepare them for the surgery with the use of pictures, dolls and discussion. This may help to relieve any anxieties.

When your allocated theatre slot is ready, the theatre support staff will collect your child and take them to theatre, along with a member of staff from the unit. Only one parent is allowed into the anaesthetic room, in addition to the nurse, to comfort your child whilst they are given the anaesthetic. The nurses will then take you to the recovery area where you will receive a pager so that they can contact you when your child is waking up in recovery. This allows you to be able to get some food and a drink whilst your child is in theatre.

If your child is not having an operation you will have been informed by the doctors of the plan of care, as all children are different.

Ward facilities

  • Shower, toilets and baby change facilities.
  • Play room (please ensure your child is supervised at all times); activities are provided at the bedside to keep your child entertained when they are waiting for surgery.
  • Parents' room with coffee and tea making facilities, microwave and fridge. Please ensure this area is kept tidy and dishes are washed. Children are not allowed in this area.
  • There is a water fountain, cups and cordial located at the nurse’s station.
  • Snacks and drinks will be provided for your child during the day, including sandwiches, toast, fruit, yoghurts and crisps. A hot meal will be provided for your child in the evening upon request.
  • If your child has any dietary requirements please telephone the ward prior to your child’s admission to let us know and ensure these requirements are documented by your nurse on admission.
  • We are able to provide some brands of formula milk for babies. Specialised milk feeds may be organised by our dietitians. Please advise your nurse as soon as possible to allow for this to be arranged.
  • Breastfeeding mothers will be provided with their meals.
  • Food and drinks may be brought in from home and kept on the ward in the fridge or freezer. Please ensure that they are labelled with name and date.
  • A Patientline television is provided at your child’s bedside. The television is free for children until 19:00, after this time a package can be purchased which will allow the television to work until 21:00 with headphones. You will have to buy a phone package to use the telephone. Payment for the TV is taken over the TV’s phone via the operator. This unit needs to be registered for use on your arrival.


The doctor will come to speak to you following your child’s surgery either in the recovery room or back on the ward, giving you a chance to ask any questions. Once your child has fully recovered from the anaesthetic, this may take a few hours, we can start the discharge process. For children requiring an overnight stay we plan for a timely discharge by 1200 the following day.

Your nurse will discuss aftercare advice with you and will be able to answer any questions you may have. If any medicines have been prescribed, these will be explained and written down for you on your discharge letter. Your nurse will discuss your follow-up appointment if required. If there are any questions or concerns your nurse is unable to answer, your surgeon can be contacted.

Upon going home, the nursing or ward staff will ask you or your child to complete a simple feedback questionnaire in the form of an iPad survey. The information gained from this will enable us to make positive changes on the ward to enhance patient experience.

Patient support links


If you would like to find out ‘who’s who’ on the ward, please see the ward notice board, opposite the nursing base. It contains the names and pictures of the staff on shift that day.

List orders

Each surgeon is allocated to an operating theatre for the day, with planned operations commencing at 08:15 and finishing at 18:00. The order in which children will have their operations is decided upon by the consultant surgeon the day before. There are many factors taken into consideration when a list order is compiled, such as age, underlying condition, type of operation, equipment, post-operative care, and combined procedures with other specialists.

List order changes

There are various reasons for a list order to change. Some are patient-related factors such as if your child is found to be unwell, further tests required, or length of operations that day. Others are non-patient factors, such as equipment not available or appropriate bed space unavailable, or an emergency operation.

You will be kept updated in such a situation by the nurses and doctors. Your child may be moved to a different position on the operating list but despite our best efforts to prevent cancellations, a few children may need their operation rescheduled to a different day. If your child’s position within the list order changes, your child will be given additional drink where appropriate.

We appreciate that waiting for your child to have their operation is an anxious time and changes to list orders can add to this anxiety. We assure you that we will do our best to ensure minimal changes are made to our list orders. We appreciate your patience and understanding.

If you have any further questions please feel free to ask to speak to the nurse in charge or a member of the surgical team.

Infection control

  • If you or your visitors are unwell, please do not come onto the ward. Some of our patients are vulnerable to infections due to their illnesses.
  • If you or any of your visitors have diarrhoea or vomiting, please inform your nurse and prepare to go home. Visitors must be clear of infection for 48 hours before visiting.
  • Alcohol gel is provided throughout the ward. To help us prevent the spread of infection please use this on entering and leaving. On occasion the nursing staff may inform you of the need to wash your hands with soap and water instead of using the gel.
  • Please limit the amount of property you bring with you as cluttered bed spaces are difficult to clean.
  • Addenbrooke’s has a number of advice leaflets for patients and their visitors about infection control.

If you do not have access to the Internet, please contact PALS on 01223 216756.

Who to contact for further advice / questions

For further information about ward F3, please contact the ward clerk or senior sister on 01223 217567. To discuss care issues please contact the senior sister or nurse in charge.

Current visiting policy

Restricted visiting will be permitted on most wards and areas such as our Emergency Department. Please follow our guidance to find our more information as some areas do still have restrictions.

Read our visiting policy