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Paediatric Pre-operative Assessment Clinic (PPOAC)

Patient information A-Z

PPOAC on Ward F3

What is POAC?

POAC stands for Pre-Operative Assessment Clinic, for children up to 16 years of age. It is located on Ward F3, which can be accessed by the main lifts and is on level three.

What is a pre-operative assessment?

Pre-operative assessment is a process used before your child’s surgery to ensure that they are fully prepared for their hospital admission, surgery and discharge. The majority of children will attend their pre-operative assessment on the same day as their outpatient clinic appointment. If your child is recommended for an operation, he/she will need to be assessed as 'fit for surgery'.

Why do you and your child need to attend?


  • ensure that your child is fit for surgery
  • make it easier on the day of surgery for you and your child
  • minimise your child’s hospital stay
  • ensure that your child is familiar with the environment and knows what to expect
  • give you the opportunity to ask questions about your child’s operation

If your child is not assessed within the POAC, he/she will not be listed for surgery.

What happens at the POAC appointment?

You and your child will be welcomed onto the F3 ward by our friendly team, who will check his/her contact details and ask you to wait in the waiting room. You will then be seen by one of our pre-assessment team, who will discuss your child’s general health with you and note any significant medical history. You will also be asked about your child’s current medication.

We will also perform several investigations as required including:

  • a set of general observations (temperature, heart rate, blood pressure, respiratory rate and oxygen saturations)
  • height and weight
  • MRSA swabs
  • blood tests
  • urine sample

Your POAC appointment should take between 30 and 60 minutes.

Observation monitor

What facilities are available?

We have a playroom with a variety of books, toys and activities available. There is a parents' room with tea and coffee making facilities. We also have a water dispenser with a selection of squashes.


We will have an anaesthetist within the clinic three afternoons a week. Children likely to need to see the anaesthetist will be scheduled to attend when the anaesthetist is in clinic. If your child requires an anaesthetic review and there is no anaesthetist available on the day of your appointment you may be asked to return to our clinic on another afternoon to meet with them.

The Royal College of Anaesthesia (opens in a new tab) website has some good resources to help prepare your child for theatre. A copy of these resources will be available to look at within our clinic. It is often beneficial for your child if you look at them in advance to assist with theatre preparations.

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Any questions

We are smoke-free

Smoking is not allowed anywhere on the hospital campus. For advice and support in quitting, contact your GP or the free NHS stop smoking helpline on 0800 169 0 169.

Other formats

Help accessing this information in other formats is available. To find out more about the services we provide, please visit our patient information help page (see link below) or telephone 01223 256998.

Contact us

Cambridge University Hospitals
NHS Foundation Trust
Hills Road, Cambridge

Telephone +44 (0)1223 245151