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New event to raise awareness of operating department practitioners


Next week will see the first national awareness day to specifically mark specialist staff who work in hospital operating theatres.

The awareness day highlighting the contribution made by operating department practitioners (ODPs) to patient care will take place on Monday 14 May, the union Unison has announced.

“We hope that this day will enable ODPs to share the diverse nature of their role with the public”

Hannah Abbott

It said the first National ODP’s Day will be marked across the country with activities including operating theatre tours, bake sales, and careers talks at schools.

The College of Operating Department Practitioners, which is affiliated to Unison, has declared that the day will be an annual event to raise the profile of ODPs and their crucial NHS role.

The event comes two days after International Nurses’ Day on 12 May, the anniversary of the birth of Florence Nightingale.

“These dedicated NHS staff work tirelessly behind the scenes at every stage of an operation2

Sara Gorton

Unison head of health Sara Gorton said: “These dedicated NHS staff work tirelessly behind the scenes at every stage of an operation.

“They ensure patients receive the best care, from the moment someone is anaesthetised to their discharge back to the ward,” she said.

“The aim of this annual event is to celebrate their work and raise the profile of the profession,” she added.

CODP president Hannah Abbott said: “We are delighted to celebrate the key role of the ODP in providing safe, high quality patient care both within the operating theatre and the wider hospital environment.

“We hope that this day will enable ODPs to share the diverse nature of their role with the public so that there can be a greater understanding of this exciting profession,” she said.

University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust is among the health service providers celebrating the day. It said there would be lots of festivities happening, as well as staff on hand to discuss any questions about the operating department.

Jo Hughes, education and practice development practitioner for theatres at Leicester’s Hospitals, said: “National ODP day is the perfect opportunity to bring forward the amazing work done by our staff. 

“A lot of people don’t realise that there is a dedicated team, with varied roles, that help a patient during their operation,” she said. “Our event at the hospital on May 14 will help us celebrate our unique team, who work hard to ensure those having operations are supported from beginning to end.” 


Readers' comments (3)

  • As an ODP I am deeply offended by this article.

    We are not support staff, we are a rare entity. We are trained within the 3 aspects of the perioperative environment and sometimes in a technical way. We work alongside nurses and the other professions within the perioperative enviroment

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  • I think the above comment is a shame as no where did I read that ODP’s are support workers. What I read was this ‘ us celebrate or unique team who work hard to ensure those having operations are supported from beginning to end.” This is what the team I belong to do everyday.
    My great ODP colleagues are fundamental to theatre work and could never be described as support workers (not to devalue that role-it’s just different).
    If you are feeling devalued then have a word with your management to address any workplace issues and take part in positive events such as this one so that the profile of this valuable role is raised.

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  • We are not nurses we are Allied Health Professionals. Our history goes back before Florence we hold the only recognised qualification for theatre we have the greatest level of knowledge. The nursing profession messed up our profession many years ago so as to get control. Macintosh introduced the first Anaesthetic Technician in the 1930’s
    And from the 1970’s the nursing messed up our career structure.
    And 40 years on as an ODA/ODP not much has changed that I can see. We as ODPs need to pull away from nursing control and set our own future.

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