Happy Operating Department Practitioner (ODP) day!

May 14th is National Operating Department Practitioners (ODP) day. So what exactly is an ODP?

An Operating Department Practitioner is an allied health professional (AHP) who provides a high standard of care to patients throughout all stages of an operation. ODPs can work in all three aspects of the theatre; Anaesthetics, Scrub/Surgery and Recovery. 

The role involves working together to manage the preparation of the operating theatres, providing perioperative care during each phase of a patient's journey and you'll also link in with other teams in the wider hospital.

What does each aspect of the role include?


  • Help and support patients before surgery
  • Prepare a wide range of specialist equipment and drugs, including anaesthetic machines, intravenous equipment and devices that safely secure the patient's airway during anaesthesia

Surgery / Scrub

  • Prepare all the necessary instruments and equipment for surgery, including microscopes, lasers and endoscopes
  • Provide the correct surgical instruments and materials to the surgeon
  • Be responsible for all surgical instruments, equipment and swabs during the operation
  • Act as a link between the surgical team and other parts of the theatre and hospital
  • Anticipate the requirements of the surgical team and respond effectively


  • Support and monitor the patient on their arrival into the recovery unit
  • Provide appropriate treatment until they have recovered from the effects of the anaesthesia and/or surgery
  • Assess the patient so they can be discharged back to a ward

(from www.healthcareers.nhs.uk)

Here at SaTH we have 194 ODPs working across our hospitals. ODP day is a chance to celebrate the profession and thank our wonderful teams for all that they do!

Group of theatre practitioners and ODPs wearing scrubs

Some of the team at The Princess Royal Hospital, Telford

How to become an ODP

To become an ODP you must complete a diploma or a degree in operating department practice. This can be either via attending University or by completing a defree apprenticeship in operating department practice. Once you complete the course, you will be able to register with Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) as an ODP.

Some key skills for the role, according to the College of Operating Department Practitioners, include:

  • A caring attitude to look after and reassure patients about their surgery
  • Ability to be a team player
  • Good communication skills
  • Able to work with complex equipment
  • Good level of attention to detail

For more about being an ODP, please see the short video below, where we chatted to Ciara who is currently completing the degree apprenticeship through SaTH.

There is also lots more information about the role of an ODP available on the College of Operating Department Practitioners website.

Click here to watch the video