Operating Department Practice DipHE – 2017 entry

Working in the Simulation Suite has been very enjoyable. I really value being able to practise and develop my professional and personal skills in a safe environment with other members of the course.

What you'll study

Operating department practitioners provide dedicated support to patients when they’re at their most vulnerable: before, during and after an operation. On our Operating Department Practice programme, you’ll work with experienced NHS staff to develop the skills required for this vital role.

Programme overview

Operating department practitioners (ODPs) are a vital part of the multidisciplinary operating theatre team, delivering high-quality patient-focused care during anaesthesia, surgery and recovery, responding to patients’ physical and psychological needs.

In addition to core clinical skills and a sound knowledge of specialist equipment and drugs, our programme will help you develop the ability to reassure and support patients emotionally through the stressful experience of surgery.

Our challenging programme will teach you the skills needed to become a competent operating department practitioner. It will consist of three main areas: anaesthesia, surgery and post-anaesthetic care.

You will acquire the knowledge and skills to respond to the diverse needs of patients, families and carers within a variety of settings.

You will also develop and display the values required in modern healthcare and stated by the NHS Constitution, including compassion, kindness, empathy, advocacy, good communication and teamwork skills, and respect for patients’ privacy, dignity and individuality.

As an Operating Department Practice (ODP) student at Surrey, you will be a valued member of the School of Health Sciences. The School is home to innovative research and teaching, and inspiring, passionate staff, and aims to nurture the UK’s most dynamic, effective and caring health professionals.

You will learn the most up-to-date and innovative practice from world-leading experts in the fields of eHealth and care ethics. You will also be prepared for a professional life within health services that deliver integrated care and put the patient at the heart of all health and care practice. 

Read our 'What is an Operating Department Practitioner?' FAQs and read about the experience of ODP student Ashley Hendricks-McKaughan.

Funding changes for 2017 entry

Funding for health programmes is changing. Please visit The Funding Clinic website for more details.

ODP in detail


You will learn how to facilitate optimum conditions for anaesthesia, and how to maintain the vital functions and control the physiological responses of patients under anaesthesia in a range of specialities.

You will learn to utilise skills of analysis and interpretation in the application of clinical practice, to enable safe anaesthesia and to maintain the physical and psychological wellbeing of individual patients.


You will develop a range of skills that are transferable across a spectrum of surgical specialities. You will learn to use interpretive skills, problem solving and clinical reasoning to plan, prioritise and implement the care needs of the individual patient in the intra-operative phase.

Post-anaesthetic care

You will learn a range of diagnostic and therapeutic techniques to enable you to recognise and analyse normal and abnormal physiological parameters, and to interpret and respond to the patient’s condition in the recovery phase.

Programme structure

Year 1

Core modules:

Year 2

Core modules:

Professional recognition

Successful completion of this programme will make you eligible to apply for professional registration with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC).

Additional costs

There are associated costs with this Dip HE programme

  • Safety equipment and/or uniform: unable to specifiy amount - Although a uniform (tunics and trousers) is provided, you are required to supply your own suitable footwear and any additional uniform. Students are also responsible for the costs associated with maintaining/washing their uniform
  • Commuting (local travel expenses: unable to specify amount - Students are required to pay upfront cost of travel and accommodation expenses incurred when on placements, these may vary depending on the location. Students starting their studies in 2017/18 will be able to apply for reimbursement of travel and dual accommodation expenses as a result of attending practice placements (this model may not apply for the duration of students studies). Essential expenses incurred over and above a student’s normal daily travel costs to the University are covered. NHS bursary rules on expenses must be followed and the rates applicable are to be confirmed by the NHS Business Services Authority 

Grand total: + safety equipment and commuting/accommodation expenses

Professional Training and placements

As an ODP student at the University of Surrey, you will work with experienced NHS staff to develop the skills required for this vital role. You will be allocated to a single NHS Trust in Surrey, London or Sussex for your practice placement and benefit from consistent support from registered practitioners qualified to be student mentors.

You will be prepared in advance of your placement to ensure that you are familiar with the role that you will perform. As you gain confidence and experience, you will undertake more complex procedures.

Watch a video featuring our ODP students training at the Royal Surrey County Hospital and read about one of our student's experience on placement.


Our passionate and dedicated teaching team is key to the success of our ODP programme. You will be taught by enthusiastic staff who are actively engaged in leading research and continue to work with NHS colleagues in practice. You will also work with experienced NHS staff to develop the skills required for this vital role.

Our programme is modular, with some theory teaching shared with NursingMidwifery and Paramedic Practice students, and uses a variety of teaching methods to spark your curiosity and enable you to learn effectively.

View photos of our ODP students in our Simulation Suite.

In the University setting, teaching methods include:

  • Practical classes and the presentation of clinical skills scenarios
  • Lectures and tutorials
  • Student and staff-led seminars
  • Study packs, reading lists, guided and annotated reading
  • Computer-aided learning and web-based teaching
  • Discussion groups
  • Enquiry-based learning

Within the practice environment, teaching methods include shadowing, role modelling, demonstration, observation, practice under supervision, reflective dialogue and discussion groups.

You will be allocated a personal tutor to oversee your progress and they will be available for one-to-one appointments. You will also join a personal tutor group, brought together for discussions, information sharing and advice.

Learn more about our Simulation Suite and meet our Operating Department Practice team.


We use a variety of methods to assess you throughout different points in the programme. You will be assessed on both your theoretical knowledge and practical skills. As well as written work, there are student presentations, examinations and case study work.

In practice placements, you are required to build a portfolio of your experiences which demonstrates how you have met your own learning agreement, as well as the particular learning outcomes for the module.

You are also required to show an understanding of and development towards the professional behaviour expected of a registered practitioner.

Graduate prospects

ODPs are a vital part of the clinical team and provide professional expertise during the patient’s stay in hospital.

Although ODPs are primarily employed within operating theatres, they are increasingly being recognised for their skills in other environments and there are many career paths to explore.

Opportunities exist in transplant teams, intensive care units, obstetric units, orthopaedic clinics, pre-assessment clinics, patient transfer, day surgery units and resuscitation teams. There are also opportunities for ODPs in education and management. For more information visit the Health and Care Professions Council website.

Our Operating Department Practice graduates have excellent prospects of employment after programme completion.

Registered practitioners

If you are a registered practitioner looking for an undergraduate programme to further your learning, please visit our Continuing Professional Development page.

Programme dates and holidays

The programme starts in September and runs over two years and four months, with nine weeks’ holiday, usually at Christmas, Easter and during the summer.

Student placement localities

The Operating Department Practice (ODP) programme consists of approximately 40 per cent theory and 60 per cent practice. The practice component is gained within a local hospital Trust where you will benefit from consistent support from registered practitioners qualified to be student mentors.

The University of Surrey is fortunate to have very strong links with hospitals within Surrey, London and Sussex.

You will be prepared in advance of your placement to ensure that you are familiar with the role that you will perform. In practice, you will move between the surgical, anaesthetic and recovery areas within the theatre suite.

You will also go on short visits to different departments to allow you to develop a holistic view of the care of patients.

Ashford and St.Peter’s NHS Foundation Trust

Ashford Hospital is located near Heathrow Airport and St Peter’s Hospital is located in Chertsey, 12 miles from Guildford.

Ashford and St Peter’s are the largest provider of acute hospital services in Surrey, serving a population of more than 380,000 people in North West Surrey, parts of Hounslow and beyond.

They have a total of 18 operating theatres across the two sites, performing over 40,000 operations a year. They provide a 24-hour trauma and emergency service, as well as a wide range of surgery, including:

  • General and vascular
  • Urology
  • Gynaecology
  • Orthopaedics
  • Obstetrics
  • Trauma
  • Maxillofacial
  • Ophthalmology
  • ENT
  • Chronic pain

Discover more.

Frimley Health NHS Foundation Trust Hospital

This is a fully integrated Ministry of Defence Hospital Unit (MDHU), 16 miles from Guildford, with 724 beds, specialising in:

  • Obstetrics and gynaecology
  • Vascular surgery
  • General surgery
  • General medicine
  • Cystic fibrosis
  • Trauma and orthopaedics
  • Ear, nose and throat
  • Urology
  • Accident and emergency
  • Cardiology (including cardiac catheterisation)
  • Ophthalmology
  • Anaesthetics

The Trust has undergone a major theatre and radiology department redevelopment, including a state-of-the-art interventional radiology suite.

In 2014, Frimley Health Trust was formed from a merger of three local hospitals, Frimley Park Hospital, Heatherwood Hospital and Wexham Park Hospital and now serves 900,000 people across Berkshire, Hampshire, Surrey and south Buckinghamshire.

Discover more.

The Royal Surrey County Hospital NHS Foundation Trust

This Trust has 527 beds and provides the local population with both elective and emergency surgery, as well as services for those with urgent, acute and long-term medical conditions.

It has 16 operating theatres, has specialist maxillofacial services, and provides a tertiary centre for cancer services.

The Royal Surrey has a strong reputation for minimally invasive surgery, robotic surgery and laparoscopic surgery is used widely across the surgical specialties.

The Trust is a national leader in surgical training and laparoscopic surgery and its MATTU (Minimal Access Therapy Training Unit) is one of the most advanced training centres for this type of surgery.

It has also been designated as a national training centre in laparoscopic colorectal surgery.

Discover more.

Surrey and Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust (SASH)

This includes the East Surrey Hospital, which is 28 miles from Guildford and located near Redhill and is the major acute hospital for East Surrey and North West Sussex with a day surgery unit based in Crawley. It provides 24/7 emergency services.

East Surrey Hospital has nine theatres, with a further three based at the Crawley site. Specialities include:

  • Obstetrics
  • Gynaecology
  • ENT
  • Ophthalmology
  • Genito-urinary
  • Orthopaedics
  • Trauma
  • Upper and lower gastro-intestinal
  • Vascular
  • Paediatrics
  • Dentals (including special needs dentals)

They also utilise the angiogram suite for elective cardioversions, insertion of pacemakers, and cardiac stenting.

Discover more.

Western Sussex Hospitals Trust

Western Sussex Hospitals NHS Trust serves a population of around 450,000 people who live in a catchment area covering most of West Sussex.

ODP training at this Trust is primarily based on two sites: Worthing Hospital and St Richard’s Hospital based in Chichester.

Chichester is the county town and is approximately 35 miles from Guildford. Worthing is on the south coast about 30 miles south of Guildford.

Worthing and St Richard’s Hospital combined has over 900 beds and provides a full range of general acute services, including maternity, outpatients, A&E and intensive care.

Discover more.

Epsom and St Helier University Hospitals

This large acute Trust serves South West London and Surrey. The Trust’s two district general hospitals, Epsom General Hospital and St Helier Hospital, both offer an extensive range of acute services.

The Trust has seventeen operating theatres spread across two hospital sites. Specialties include:

  • Orthopaedics
  • Trauma
  • Renal
  • Maternity
  • Endoscopy
  • Day-surgery
  • General paediatrics
  • Gynaecology
  • ENT

More specialist secondments to an external trust to cardiac and neurosurgery can be arranged for experienced students.

As well as placements in the above specialties there are placements towards x-ray, emergency theatres, intensive care, recovery and the sterile supplies department and cardiac arrest teams.

Theatres take students from all disciplines; as well as student ODPs there are student paramedics, nurses and midwives learning theatre and recovery skills. Theatres within the trust are involved with five universities.

Student ODPs come from both University of Surrey and Canterbury Christchurch so there are opportunities to mix with different learning cultures.

All sites are well served by buses and trains. Students can avail themselves of a free hospital bus shuttle service which operates every 40 minutes between each hospital site from 7.30am to 6pm.

Discover more.

Kingston Hospital NHS Foundation Trust

Kingston Hospital is a district general hospital based approximately 12 miles from central London. The hospital supports some 350,000 people in the surrounding area, including Kingston, Richmond, Roehampton, Putney and East Elmbridge.

Kingston has approximately 520 beds and directly employs some 2,750 staff, with another 300 staff employed by contractors but working on behalf of the Trust. The theatres are based in the hospital located on one site in Kingston-upon-Thames.

The Trust has eight theatres all with a dedicated anaesthetic room as well as a separate seven bed recovery room. Specialties include:

  • General surgery
  • Gynaecology
  • Urology
  • Orthopaedics
  • Trauma
  • Maxillo-facial
  • ENT
  • Obstetrics

Discover more.

Croydon University Hospital

Croydon is an acute General Hospital with more than 500 beds. It is the main District General Hospital for Croydon, with a 24-hour Accident and Emergency Service providing major accident cover.

Croydon Health Service has ten operating theatres in its main suite, and four theatres in the Day Surgery Unit. The Operating Theatre Suite provides surgical treatment for:

  • Gynaecology
  • Genito-urinary
  • Breast
  • ENT
  • Dental
  • Elective orthopaedics
  • Trauma orthopaedics
  • Emergency
  • Colo-rectal
  • General
  • Paediatric
  • Vascular

The Hospital is situated a mile from the centre of Croydon and is also very close to the centre of London, with frequent trains leaving the Croydon Central Station with an average journey of 15 minutes.

Discover more.

Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust

This Trust provides general acute services to the local populations in and around the City of Brighton and Hove, Mid-Sussex, the western part of East Sussex and more specialist and tertiary services for patients across Sussex and the South East of England.

Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals (BSUH) is the regional teaching hospital working across two sites: the Royal Sussex County Hospital in Brighton and the Princess Royal Hospital in Haywards Heath.

The Princess Royal theatre suite includes five operating theatres and an eight bay recovery unit. The placement offers experience of:

  • General surgery
  • Urology surgery
  • Orthopaedic surgery
  • ENT surgery
  • Gynaecology and obstetrics surgery
  • Maxillofacial surgery

Brighton is the trauma centre for the area and the hospital has eight main theatres, one obstetric theatre and two theatres for neurology.

Discover more.

Further information

Further information about hospital placements is provided to students at the start of the programme and within local induction to the practice environments.

The accommodation provision varies between hospitals and usually comprises students organising privately rented flat-sharing or house-sharing via local agents. Occasionally hospital trust accommodation may be available.

All students can be accommodated within University campus accommodation for the commencement of their programme but it is expected that students will move into their hospital locality when their placements start (which may be within six months of the programme commencing).

This enables the student to travel to and from placements with ease and minimum cost, so students can get to placements for the start times of shifts and back home when they finish.

The theory component of the programme is taught within the University campus in Guildford for all students, irrespective of hospital, for the duration of the programme.

Process for student allocation to placement

There are limited placements within each hospital, so each new intake of students must be divided up between hospitals to ensure a high quality practice experience for all.

A priority system exists when allocating students to ensure the needs of those students with specific geographical requirements are met as much as possible within the limited capacity in each location.

The priority system identifies the following:

  • Sponsored students are placed within the hospital where the sponsoring Trust has placements
  • Students with dependents are placed in the hospital nearest to their home address, as far as capacity allows
  • Students living in their own homes (or the parental home) at the start of the programme are placed in a hospital as near to their home address as possible, as far as capacity allows
  • Students who opt to live in University accommodation for the start of the programme are allocated according to home address, to the nearest possible hospital, as far as capacity allows

2017 Entry requirements

What qualifications do you need?


One A level at grade B.

We do not include General Studies or Critical Thinking in our offers.

It is desirable for those applicants taking part in the Science Practical Endorsement in either Physics, Biology or Chemistry to obtain a pass.

Other international qualifications

If you are an international student and you don’t meet the entry requirements to this degree, we offer the International Foundation Year.

Select your country:

Required subjects

GCSE grade C/4 or higher in five subjects

GCSE English Language, Mathematics and Science at grade C/4 or above (equivalents may be considered)

A relevant science A-level at grade B is desirable.

Selection process


Admissions staff will review the information provided within the personal statement and reference to assess applications for evidence of academic ability, insight and motivation.

Relevant experience in a care setting and/or evidence of other involvement in the community (for example, school, voluntary or charity responsibilities) are normally required.

Personal statements should be comprehensive, with correct spelling, grammar and punctuation. Shortlisted applicants will be invited to an interview and selection day.

Interview and selection day

Multiple Mini Interviews (MMIs) will be conducted by University academics, assisted by staff from clinical practice areas. Numeracy and literacy exercises may also be included as part of the selection process.

Applicants selected to attend one of our interview days will be sent detailed guidance on these selection activities with their invitation.

Other entry requirements

Admission to this programme is subject to the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act (1974) Section 4 (2) (Exemptions) Order 1975 and DHSS Circular HC(88)9 guidelines regarding police checks and child protection.

Offers are conditional upon satisfactory health and fitness for practice screening, references and Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) clearance, or equivalent. Candidates must also meet national requirements to work with vulnerable adults and children.

Candidates should have the ability to follow a shift pattern covering 24 hours a day and seven days a week, and be able to meet travel requirements.

Candidates are encouraged to gain practical work experience in a care setting prior to undertaking the programme.

All places are subject to commissioned numbers. All applicants should be able to demonstrate evidence of completed academic study within the last five years. 

Applicants will also demonstrate the values required for health professional practice and stated within the NHS Constitution, such as honesty, integrity and compassion.

The Department of Health requires all ODP students to be tested for HIV, Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C during the induction week. Those testing positive would be subject to Department of Health guidelines for entry to the programme.

English language requirements

7.0 IELTS minimum overall (or equivalent)

7.0 IELTS minimum in each sub-skill (or equivalent)

If you are an international student and you are concerned that your English is not to the required standard, you may benefit from the International Foundation Year, run by the Surrey International Study Centre.

Please note that the University of Surrey offers English language programmes and is also an IELTS Test Centre.

See 2018 entry information

Course Options

Qualification Course Length Professional Training UCAS code KIS code
DipHE 2 years, 4 months B990 View KIS data set

Tuition fees

View a complete listing of all ongoing fees for our undergraduate programmes.

Additional costs

There are additional costs associated with this programme – view the additional costs section for full details.

Bursaries and scholarships

We're committed to making sure that we offer support for students who might need it.

Find out more

International students

Experienced staff in our International Student Office are available to help from the moment you consider studying at the University. We offer professional advice on immigration, visa issues, entry qualifications, pre-departure information, employment regulations and international student welfare.

How to apply

Find out how and when to apply to study at Surrey.

More info


Modules listed are indicative, reflecting the information available at the time of publication. Please note that modules may be subject to teaching availability and/or student demand.

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