Despite numerous guidelines on the management of anaemia in surgical patients, there is no pragmatic guidance for the diagnosis and management of anaemia and iron deficiency in the postoperative period. A number of experienced researchers and clinicians took part in a two-day expert workshop and developed the following consensus statement. After presentation of our own research data and local policies and procedures, appropriate relevant literature was reviewed and discussed. We developed a series of best-practice and evidence-based statements to advise on patient care with respect to anaemia and iron deficiency in the postoperative period. These statements include: a diagnostic approach to iron deficiency and anaemia in surgical patients; identification of patients appropriate for treatment; and advice on practical management and follow-up that is easy to implement. Available data allow the fulfilment of the requirements of Pillar 1 of Patient Blood Management. We urge national and international research funding bodies to take note of these recommendations, particularly in terms of funding large-scale prospective, randomised clinical trials that can most effectively address the important clinical questions and this clearly unmet medical need.