Overview of the role

Supporting operating theatre staff and providing care to patients at all stages of an operation.

Details of standard

Occupation summary

Operating department practitioners are registered healthcare professionals specialising in caring for people of all ages before, during and after surgery. Operating department practitioners, therefore, mainly work in operating departments. They work alongside other professionals, such as doctors and nurses, and take a lead role in ensuring the service user is safe during each stage of the journey through the operating theatre. Operating department practitioners must continually make professional decisions to ensure the service user receives the best care. Operating department practitioners also ensure that the operating theatre environment is safe and effective and, therefore, have expertise in the management of specialist equipment and materials in a highly technical environment; for example, handling surgical instruments, checking anaesthetic equipment, moving individuals, and giving medication. Operating department practitioners must be confident, compassionate, competent and make effective judgements, for which they are accountable. They must use evidence-based practice to inform and evaluate the effectiveness of their actions with the aim of continually improving outcomes for service users. They are responsible for ensuring their own professional knowledge and skills through continuous professional development (CPD) and supporting the development of others.  


Anaesthesia phase of care requires operating department practitioners to:


 Surgery phase of care requires operating department practitioners to:

  • work as part of a team to provide safe, individualised care during surgery
  • take professional responsibility for selecting, preparing and providing the correct sterile surgical equipment to the surgeon, and being accountable for all surgical instruments, equipment and swabs throughout the procedure
  • anticipate the surgical team’s requirements, responding appropriately and effectively.
  • ensuring the correct management of clinical specimens


The Post-anaesthetic care phase involves:

  • caring for the individual whilst in the post anaesthetic care unit (PACU)
  • observing and monitoring a patient’s vital signs
  • maintaining their airway and identifying and responding to changes in the individuals physiological and psychological condition
  • providing appropriate treatment including pain control and post-operative nausea and vomiting care; until the service user has recovered from the immediate effects of anaesthesia and has been assessed in order to ensure they are fit to be discharged from PACU


Typical job titles include:

Operating department practitioner

Entry requirements

Entry requirements will be determined by the employer and the University.

Occupation duties

Duty KSBs

Duty 1 Practise safely and effectively within the scope of practice and within the legal and ethical boundaries of the profession.

K1 K2 K3 K4 K5 K6 K7 K8 K9

S1 S2 S3 S4 S5 S6 S7 S8 S9 S10 S11 S12 S13

B2 B3

Duty 2 Look after own health and wellbeing, seeking appropriate support where necessary.

K10 K11

S14 S15

Duty 3 Practise as an autonomous professional, exercising professional judgement.


S16 S17 S18 S19 S20 S21 S22


Duty 4 Practise in a non-discriminatory and inclusive manner recognising the impact of culture, equality and diversity.

K13 K14 K15 K16

S23 S24 S25 S26


Duty 5 Communicate effectively, maintaining confidentiality and records appropriately.

K17 K18 K19 K20 K21 K22 K23

S27 S28 S29 S30 S31 S32 S33 S34 S35 S36 S37 S38

B1 B3

Duty 6 Work appropriately with others.

K24 K25 K26 K27 K28 K29

S39 S40 S41 S42 S43 S44 S45 S46


Duty 7 Reflect on, review and assure the quality of own practice.

K30 K31 K32

S47 S48 S49 S50 S51 S52

Duty 8 Draw on appropriate knowledge and skills to inform practice and apply the key concepts of the knowledge base relevant to the profession.

K33 K34 K35 K36 K37 K38 K39 K40 K41 K42 K43 K44 K45 K46 K47 K48 K49 K50 K51 K52 K53

S53 S54 S55 S56 S57 S58 S59 S60 S61 S62 S63 S64 S65 S66 S67 S68 S69 S70 S71 S72 S73 S74 S75 S76 S77 S84

Duty 9 Establish and maintain a safe practice environment.

K54 K55 K56 K57 K58 K59

S78 S79 S80 S81 S82 S83 S85

Duty 10 Promote public health and prevent ill health.

K60 K61

S86 S87



K1: The importance of continuing professional development throughout own career. Back to Duty

K2: The importance of safeguarding, signs of abuse and the relevant safeguarding processes. Back to Duty

K3: What is required of them by the Health and Care Professions Council, including but not limited to the Standards of conduct, performance and ethics. Back to Duty

K4: The importance of valid consent. Back to Duty

K5: That relationships with service users, carers and others should be based on mutual respect and trust. Back to Duty

K6: The importance of capacity in the context of delivering care and treatment. Back to Duty

K7: The scope of a professional duty of care. Back to Duty

K8: Legislation, policies and guidance relevant to own profession and scope of practice. Back to Duty

K9: The complexity of caring for vulnerable persons in perioperative and other healthcare settings, and the need to adapt care as necessary. Back to Duty

K10: The importance of own mental and physical health and wellbeing strategies in maintaining fitness to practise. Back to Duty

K11: How to take appropriate action if own health may affect own ability to practise safely and effectively, including seeking help and support when necessary. Back to Duty

K12: The need for active participation in training, supervision and mentoring in supporting high standards of practice, and personal and professional conduct, and the importance of demonstrating this in practice. Back to Duty

K13: Equality legislation and how to apply it to own practice. Back to Duty

K14: The duty to make reasonable adjustments in practice. Back to Duty

K15: The characteristics and consequences of barriers to inclusion, including for socially isolated groups. Back to Duty

K16: That regard to equality, diversity and inclusion needs to be embedded in the application of all HCPC standards and across all areas of practice. Back to Duty

K17: When disclosure of confidential information may be required. Back to Duty

K18: The principles of information and data governance and the safe and effective use of health, social care and other relevant information. Back to Duty

K19: The need to ensure confidentiality is maintained in all situations in which service users rely on additional communication support, such as interpreters or translators. Back to Duty

K20: That the concepts of confidentiality and informed consent extend to all mediums, including illustrative clinical records such as photography, video and audio recordings and digital platforms. Back to Duty

K21: The characteristics and consequences of verbal and non-verbal communication and how these can be affected by difference of any kind including, but not limited to, protected characteristics, intersectional experiences and cultural differences. Back to Duty

K22: The need to support the communication needs of service users and carers, such as through the use of an appropriate interpreter. Back to Duty

K23: The need to provide service users or people acting on own behalf with the information necessary in accessible formats to enable them to make informed decisions. Back to Duty

K24: The principles and practices of other health and care professionals and systems and how they interact with own profession. Back to Duty

K25: The need to build and sustain professional relationships as both an autonomous practitioner and collaboratively as a member of a team. Back to Duty

K26: The qualities, behaviours and benefits of leadership. Back to Duty

K27: That leadership is a skill all professionals can demonstrate. Back to Duty

K28: The need to engage service users and carers in planning and evaluating diagnostics, and therapeutic interventions to meet their needs and goals. Back to Duty

K29: Psychological and sociological principles to maintain effective relationships. Back to Duty

K30: The value of reflective practice and the need to record the outcome of such reflection to support continuous improvement. Back to Duty

K31: The value of multi-disciplinary reviews, case conferences and other methods of review. Back to Duty

K32: The value of gathering and using data for quality assurance and improvement programmes. Back to Duty

K33: The structure and function of the human body, together with knowledge of physical and mental health, disease, disorder and dysfunction relevant to their profession. Back to Duty

K34: The principles and applications of scientific enquiry, including the evaluation of treatment efficacy and the research process. Back to Duty

K35: The roles of other professions in health and social care and how they may relate to the role of the operating department practitioner. Back to Duty

K36: The structure and function of health and social care system and services in the UK. Back to Duty

K37: Disease and trauma processes, and how to apply this knowledge to the service user’s perioperative care. Back to Duty

K38: The main sequential stages of human development, including cognitive, emotional and social measures of maturation through the lifespan. Back to Duty

K39: The theoretical basis of, and the variety of approaches to, assessment and intervention. Back to Duty

K40: Relevant physiological parameters and how to interpret changes from the norm. Back to Duty

K41: The principles of operating department practice and their application to perioperative and other healthcare settings. Back to Duty

K42: How to order, store and issue drugs to service users safely and effectively. Back to Duty

K43: The pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic effects and contraindications of drugs used. Back to Duty

K44: Safe and current practice in a range of medical devices used for diagnostic, monitoring or therapeutic purposes in accordance with national and local guidelines, appropriate to their practice. Back to Duty

K45: The principles and practices of the management of clinical emergencies. Back to Duty

K46: A range of research methodologies relevant to own role. Back to Duty

K47: The value of research to the critical evaluation of practice. Back to Duty

K48: Service users’ elimination needs. Back to Duty

K49: The role of the surgical first assistant in assisting with surgical intervention. Back to Duty

K50: The management and processes involved in the administration of blood and blood products. Back to Duty

K51: The need to monitor the effects of drugs. Back to Duty

K52: Common abnormal blood physiology, including blood gas analysis. Back to Duty

K53: The principles of life support. Back to Duty

K54: The need to maintain the safety of themself and others, including service users, carers and colleagues. Back to Duty

K55: Relevant health and safety legislation and local operational procedures and policies. Back to Duty

K56: The impact of human factors within relevant settings and the implications for service user safety. Back to Duty

K57: The nature and purpose of sterile fields, and the practitioner’s individual role and responsibility for maintaining them. Back to Duty

K58: Appropriate moving and handling techniques. Back to Duty

K59: Principles of safe use of medical devices used in perioperative, anaesthetic, surgical and post-anaesthesia care. Back to Duty

K60: The role of the profession in health promotion, health education and preventing ill health. Back to Duty

K61: How social, economic and environmental factors, wider determinants of health, can influence a person’s health and well-being. Back to Duty


S1: Identify the limits of own practice and when to seek advice or refer to another professional or service Back to Duty

S2: Manage own workload and resources safely and effectively, including managing the emotional burden that comes with working in a pressured environment Back to Duty

S3: Keep own skills and knowledge up to date Back to Duty

S4: Maintain high standards of personal and professional conduct Back to Duty

S5: Engage in safeguarding processes where necessary Back to Duty

S6: Promote and protect the service user’s interests at all times Back to Duty

S7: Respect and uphold the rights, dignity, values, and autonomy of service users, including own role in the assessment, diagnostic, treatment and / or therapeutic process Back to Duty

S8: Maintain high standards of care in all circumstances Back to Duty

S9: Obtain valid consent, which is voluntary and informed, has due regard to capacity, is proportionate to the circumstances and is appropriately documented Back to Duty

S10: Exercise a duty of care Back to Duty

S11: Apply legislation, policies and guidance relevant to own profession and scope of practice Back to Duty

S12: Recognise the power imbalance which comes with being a health care professional, and ensure it is not for personal gain Back to Duty

S13: Practise in accordance with relevant medicines legislation Back to Duty

S14: Identify own anxiety and stress and recognise the potential impact on own practice Back to Duty

S15: Develop and adopt clear strategies for physical and mental self-care and self-awareness, to maintain a high standard of professional effectiveness and a safe working environment Back to Duty

S16: Recognise that they are personally responsible for, and must be able to, justify their decisions and actions Back to Duty

S17: Use own skills, knowledge and experience, and the information available, to make informed decisions and / or take action where necessary Back to Duty

S18: Make reasoned decisions to initiate, continue, modify or cease treatment or the use of techniques or procedures, and record the decisions and reasoning appropriately Back to Duty

S19: Make and receive appropriate referrals, where necessary Back to Duty

S20: Exercise personal initiative Back to Duty

S21: Demonstrate a logical and systematic approach to problem solving Back to Duty

S22: Use research, reasoning and problem solving skills when determining appropriate actions Back to Duty

S23: Respond appropriately to the needs of all different groups and individuals in practice, recognising this can be affected by difference of any kind including, but not limited to, protected characteristics, intersectional experiences and cultural differences Back to Duty

S24: Recognise the potential impact of own values, beliefs and personal biases (which may be unconscious) on practice and take personal action to ensure all service users and carers are treated appropriately with respect and dignity Back to Duty

S25: Make and support reasonable adjustments in owns and others’ practice Back to Duty

S26: Actively challenge barriers to inclusion, supporting the implementation of change wherever possible Back to Duty

S27: Adhere to the professional duty of confidentiality Back to Duty

S28: Respond in a timely manner to situations where it is necessary to share information to safeguard service users, carers and / or the wider public and recognise situations where it is necessary to share information to safeguard service users, carers and / or the wider public Back to Duty

S29: Use effective and appropriate verbal and non-verbal skills to communicate with service users, carers, colleagues and others Back to Duty

S30: Communicate in English to the required standard for the profession Back to Duty

S31: Work with service users and / or own carers to facilitate the service user’s preferred role in decision-making, and provide service users and carers with the information they may need where appropriate Back to Duty

S32: Modify own means of communication to address the individual communication needs and preferences of service users and carers, and remove any barriers to communication where possible Back to Duty

S33: Use information, communication and digital technologies appropriate to own practice Back to Duty

S34: Use effective communication skills when sharing information about service users with other members of the multidisciplinary team Back to Duty

S35: Use effective communication skills in the reception and identification of service users, and in the transfer of service users to the care of others Back to Duty

S36: Keep full, clear and accurate records in accordance with applicable legislation, protocols and guidelines Back to Duty

S37: Manage records and all other information in accordance with applicable legislation, protocols and guidelines Back to Duty

S38: Use digital record keeping tools, where required Back to Duty

S39: Work in partnership with service users, carers, colleagues and others Back to Duty

S40: Contribute effectively to work undertaken as part of a multi-disciplinary team Back to Duty

S41: Identify anxiety and stress in service users, carers and colleagues, adapting own practice and providing support where appropriate Back to Duty

S42: Identify own leadership qualities, behaviours and approaches, taking into account the importance of equality, diversity and inclusion Back to Duty

S43: Demonstrate leadership behaviours appropriate to own practice Back to Duty

S44: Act as a role model for others Back to Duty

S45: Promote and engage in the learning of others Back to Duty

S46: Apply psychological and sociological principles to maintain effective relationships Back to Duty

S47: Participate in team briefings and debriefings following treatment, procedures or interventions Back to Duty

S48: Engage in evidence-based practice Back to Duty

S49: Gather and use feedback and information, including qualitative and quantitative data, to evaluate the responses of service users to own care Back to Duty

S50: Monitor and systematically evaluate the quality of practice, and maintain an effective quality management and quality assurance process working towards continual improvement Back to Duty

S51: Participate in quality management, including quality control, quality assurance, clinical governance and the use of appropriate outcome measures Back to Duty

S52: Evaluate care plans or intervention plans using recognised and appropriate outcome measures, in conjunction with the service user where possible, and revise the plans as necessary Back to Duty

S53: Calculate accurately prescribed drug dosages for individual service user needs Back to Duty

S54: Participate as part of a team managing a clinical emergency, where necessary Back to Duty

S55: Change own practice as needed to take account of new developments, technologies and changing contexts Back to Duty

S56: Gather appropriate information Back to Duty

S57: Analyse and critically evaluate the information collected Back to Duty

S58: Select and use appropriate assessment techniques and equipment Back to Duty

S59: Undertake and record a thorough, sensitive, and detailed assessment Back to Duty

S60: Undertake or arrange investigations as appropriate Back to Duty

S61: Conduct appropriate assessment or monitoring procedures, treatment, therapy or other actions safely and effectively Back to Duty

S62: Critically evaluate research and other evidence to inform own practice Back to Duty

S63: Engage service users in research as appropriate Back to Duty

S64: Undertake all sex urinary catheterisation Back to Duty

S65: Undertake appropriate pre-assessment, anaesthetic, surgical and post-anaesthesia care interventions, including managing the service user’s airway, respiration and circulation and providing assisted ventilation where necessary Back to Duty

S66: Monitor and record fluid balance, and where appropriate, administer prescribed fluids in accordance with national and local guidelines Back to Duty

S67: Prepare and administer drugs to service users via a range of routes, including oral, rectal, topical and by intramuscular, subcutaneous and intravenous injection Back to Duty

S68: Take appropriate action in response to any significant change or adverse reaction in response to the effects of drugs Back to Duty

S69: Undertake venepuncture, peripheral IV cannulation and blood sampling Back to Duty

S70: Assess and monitor the service user’s pain status and as appropriate administer prescribed pain relief in accordance with national and local guidelines Back to Duty

S71: Modify and adapt practice to emergency situation Back to Duty

S72: Undertake the management of a service user in cardiac arrest and participate in the team managing on-going resuscitation, where required Back to Duty

S73: Receive and identify service users and their care needs Back to Duty

S74: Participate in the briefing and debriefing of perioperative teams and the use of surgical safety checklists Back to Duty

S75: Formulate specific and appropriate care plans including the setting of timescales Back to Duty

S76: Effectively gather information relevant to the care of service users in a range of emotional states Back to Duty

S77: Adapt and apply problem solving skills to clinical emergencies Back to Duty

S78: Demonstrate awareness of relevant health and safety legislation and comply with all local operational procedures and policies Back to Duty

S79: Work safely, including being able to select appropriate hazard control and risk management, reduction or elimination techniques in a safe manner and in accordance with health and safety legislation Back to Duty

S80: Select appropriate personal protective equipment and use it correctly Back to Duty

S81: Establish safe environments for practice, which appropriately manages risk Back to Duty

S82: Promote and comply with measures designed to control infection Back to Duty

S83: Apply appropriate moving and handling techniques Back to Duty

S84: Position service users for safe and effective interventions Back to Duty

S85: Ensure the safe use of medical devices used in perioperative, anaesthetic, surgical and post-anaesthesia care Back to Duty

S86: Empower and enable individuals (including service users and colleagues) to play a part in managing own health Back to Duty

S87: Engage in occupational health, including being aware of immunisation requirements Back to Duty


B1: Open, honest, courteous and professional Back to Duty

B2: Caring, compassionate, confident, courageous and committed Back to Duty

B3: Treat people with dignity, respecting individual's diversity, beliefs, culture, needs, values, privacy and preferences Back to Duty


English and Maths

Apprentices without level 2 English and maths will need to achieve this level prior to taking the End-Point Assessment. For those with an education, health and care plan or a legacy statement, the apprenticeship’s English and maths minimum requirement is Entry Level 3. A British Sign Language (BSL) qualification is an alternative to the English qualification for those whose primary language is BSL.

Other mandatory qualifications

BSc (Hons) in Operating Department Practice approved by the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC)

Level: 6 (integrated degree)

Training provider must be approved by the regulator body. EPAO must be approved by the regulator body.

Additional details

Regulated standard

This is a regulated occupation.

Regulator body:

Health and Care Professions Council

Training Provider must be approved by regulator body

EPAO must be approved by regulator body

Occupational Level:


Duration (months):



this apprenticeship will be reviewed in accordance with our change request policy.

Status: Approved for delivery
Level: 6
Degree: integrated degree
Reference: ST0582
Version: 1.2
Date updated: 01/09/2023
Approved for delivery: 28 June 2018
Route: Health and science
Typical duration to gateway: 48 months (this does not include EPA period)
Maximum funding: £26000
Regulated standard:
This is a regulated occupation
Regulator body:Health and Care Professions Council
Training Provider must be approved by regulator body
EPAO must be approved by regulator body
LARS Code: 306
EQA Provider: Office for Students
Employers involved in creating the standard: Alder Hey Children's Hospital, BMI Healthcare, Doncaster and Bassetlaw Hospitals NHS FT, Luton and Dunstable University Hospital, Milton Keynes University Hospital, North Bristol NHS Trust, Royal United Hospital Bath NHS Foundation Trust, Skills for Health, Skills For Health Ltd

Version log

Version Change detail Earliest start date Latest start date Latest end date
1.2 Standard, end-point assessment plan and funding band revised but remained the same. 01/09/2023 Not set Not set
1.1 End-point assessment plan and funding revised 01/11/2022 31/08/2023 Not set
1.0 Approved for delivery 28/06/2018 31/10/2022 Not set

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