COVID-19: Cardiology Specialty Service Guide

Updated November 2020

Rapid access chest pain clinic is now running as telephone consultations only.


This information provides guidance on the management of cardiology patients in the Western locality during the COVID-19 pandemic. The information is based on NHS England advice.

National guidance

Clinical guide for the management of cardiology patients during the coronavirus pandemic

Rapid access chest pain pathway referrals

We are running a rapid access chest pain clinic service as usual.

Conditions with specific guidance

Some heart patients are considered at extremely high risk of severe illness from Coronavirus. Patients are classed as extremely vulnerable (most at risk) if:

  • Had a transplant at any time, including a heart transplant
  • Pregnant and have significant heart disease - defined by experts as any of the following: coronary heart disease, hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, left ventricular hypertrophy caused by high blood pressure, pulmonary arterial hypertension, valvular heart disease, heart failure, significant congenital heart disease.

If patients are in one of these groups, they should protect by staying at home, and minimising contact with people they live with, for the next 12 weeks. This is called shielding. If this applies to you, you will be contacted directly by the NHS with further advice. We are sending letters to the high-risk patients with specific advice and emergency contact details.

Heart Matters

Patients with underlying cardiac conditions are at significant risk of mortality from COVID-19 infection. It is essential that patients with underlying cardiac conditions are managed as effectively as possible in the community during this pandemic to minimise their risks.

American College of Cardiology

​Urgent referrals

Where possible, appointments should be conducted remotely and non-urgent referrals will either be added to a waiting list, or A&G will be given particularly those requiring diagnostics for surveillance.

We have converted all routine outpatient our clinics as telephone clinics and we are trialling virtual anywhere services to do urgent patient clinics.

​Routine referrals

All new routine referrals will be clinically triaged and will either be added to a waiting list or, if appropriate, A&G will be given.

Please ensure that a practice-based system is in place to check daily for returning referrals with A&G.

Prior to making a routine referral, please ensure that any appropriate Policy or CRG has been reviewed and that all the suggested investigations and management options have been considered.

Existing new and follow-up routine appointments have been cancelled and changed to telephone / video consultation where appropriate.

​Urgent advice

  1. 24/7 urgent advice is available to all primary care clinicians via oncall registrar bleep 81006. Can be contacted via University Hospitals Plymouth switchboard telephone: 01752 202082
  2. There is a Consultant on-call service available 24/7 and they can be contacted via UHP switchboard telephone: 01752 202082
  3. A dedicated phone help line will be set up for patients who are awaiting cardiac procedures to inform us if there are clinical deterioration and they will be contacted by the administration and clinical team

​Advice & Guidance

  1. We are running an advice and guidance clinics as usual. The frequency can be increased if the demand increases

​COVID-19 high risk patient advice

  1. Specific guidelines by NHSE and other affiliated societies on patients with underlying high-risk cardiac conditions are available online and the references are listed below
  2. We are sending letters and setting up hotline service for these patients

Our adult congenital heart disease and pregnant patients are followed up via telephone clinics and offered advice.

Elective work

'We continue to offer some elective day case Angiogram, Angioplasty and Pacemakers supported by our partners at the Peninsula Heart Clinic.'

'Diagnostic Echocardiograms will continue to be predominately undertaken at Ultracardiac, Derriford Business park.'

Pathway Group

This guideline has been signed off on behalf of the NHS Devon Clinical Commissioning Group

Last updated: 19-11-2020


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