At some point in their lives most people will undergo anaesthesia. This may be for a diagnostic or surgical procedure, from a routine day case to a major or emergency operation. As a patient, you may encounter anaesthetists in the operating theatre, in outpatient clinics, delivery suite, intensive care unit or on the wards.

Anaesthesia temporarily blocks or removes sensations, so that patients can be free of pain during and after surgical procedures. This can range from total lack of awareness (general anaesthetic) to regional anaesthesia affecting only a specific part of the body.

In New Zealand all anaesthetists are medically trained doctors who undergo a further seven years of training after graduating from medical school.  New Zealand is one of the safest countries in the world to be administered an anaesthetic.

Waikato Hospital's Anaesthesia department is a very active group of medical specialists providing more than 23,000 anaesthetic procedures per year in all tertiary surgical specialties. 


Anaesthesia is part of Waikato Hospital's Theatres and Interventional Services cluster. 
The team includes 40 specialist anaesthetists, registrars and senior house officers, anaesthetic technicians, a pain nurse practitioner and pain nurse specialist, a research scientists, manager and administration support.
It is led by an Anaesthetic Executive Group (see Key personnel).

The full scope of practice includes preoperative assessment, anaesthesia for surgical and non-surgical procedures (including sedation and all forms of regional and general anaesthesia), complex pain management and resuscitation, and medical education.
This includes:

  • Anaesthesia for emergency and elective surgery
  • Obstetric anaesthesia
  • Cardiac anaesthesia
  • Paediatric anaesthesia
  • Neuroanaesthesia
  • Remote location anaesthesia (interventional radiology, cardiology, brachytherapy, ECT)
  • Pain Service (inpatient and chronic)
  • Pre-anaesthetic Assessment Clinic
  • Allergy Clinic
  • Transoesophageal echocardiography (intraoperative and ICU)

In mid-2013, 10 new operating theatres opened at Waikato Hospital, providing upgraded facilities for the department and a growth in its functions. This brings the total number of theatres to 22.

The Anaesthesia team at Waikato Hospital has a strong track record in teaching, continuing medical education and research, and aims to be a centre of anaesthetic excellence in New Zealand.


Waiora Waikato Hospital Campus, Pembroke Street, Hamilton

  • Operating Theatres and Post-anaesthetic Care Unit, Waikato Hospital
  • Day of Surgery Admission, Reception K, Meade Clinical Centre, Waikato Hospital
  • Academic Department of Anaesthesia, Waikato Clinical School, Waiora Waikato Hospital Campus

Contact information

Department of Anaesthesia
Ph: (07) 839 8718
Fax: (07) 839 8761

Email: (to Department of Anaesthesia’s secretary)
Postal address: Department of Anaesthesia, Waikato Hospital, Private Bag 3200, Hamilton, New Zealand.

Waikato Hospital Operator: (07) 839 8899 can be used for all services and departments.

Referral information

Patients requiring anaesthesia will be seen in advance of their surgery or procedure and have their anaesthetic requirements assessed and explained. 

More information