If a British Doctor Invites You to ‘Surgery,’ Should You Be Worried?

1. Surgery vs. Doctor’s office

Credit: Rui Vieira/PA Wire URN: 10538421 (Press Association via AP Imagery)

Of all the British medical terms that exist, few cause Americans as much confusion as the word “surgery.” In short, you should not be alarmed if your British medical doctor invites you to surgery. You’re not about to be cut open.

In England, “surgery” is essentially the doctor’s office, a place where you can ask advice from, or receive treatment from, a doctor or dentist. While Americans reserve the term “surgery” for the cutting room, so to speak, Britons use “surgery” to mean a doctor’s office hours. A nurse might say to you, “If you come to the surgery at noon, the doctor will see you then.” Or he or she might say, “Surgery is from 9 am until noon.”

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