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Adult congenital heart disease (ACHD) service

Diagnosing and treating heart problems present from birth 

Coronavirus: ACHD service update

We know that this is a concerning time for lots of people. Throughout the coronavirus situation, we remain committed to providing you and your family the best, and safest, care possible.

We are changing how we work in the cardiovascular team, so that we can continue providing the best care possible for current and new patients, both in and out of our hospital. These changes are designed to help keep everyone as safe.

Please see our frequently asked questions and the links below for further details on changes we are making, and contact details for your clinical team.

Patients

To reduce the risk to our patients, whilst still ensuring they get the care they need, our team of consultants and nurses are carefully reviewing every single patient's medical history and test results. Following these detailed reviews, they can find which patients need to be seen in person, which patients could have a 'virtual' review, and which patients could safely have their appointment postponed.

We are currently working to contact every patient regarding any changes. We understand that you may have waited some time for an appointment, and we apologise that your appointment may be changed. 

After our detailed review, one of the following may happen:

  • in some cases, we are changing appointments to a telephone consultation, and in certain circumstances, a video appointment. This prevents you from having to travel to the Trust.
  • some patients may be discharged back to their GP and we will write to you if this is the case. If you have been discharged back to your GP, it is because we believe it is safe to do so. If your situation as changed, please let us know.
  • some appointments may be deferred without a future date being arranged at this stage. If we defer your appointment, this is because we believe it is safe to do so. You will remain on our waiting list and we will contact you in due course. If your symptoms have changed and you think you should be seen, please contact your team so we can give you the help and treatment you need.

We understand that this is a concerning time, and we apologise that we have had to change your appointment. If you have not heard from us within three days of your scheduled appointment please contact us by email gst-tr.cardiology@nhs.net.

Clinical help and advice

If you have symptoms that could be a medical emergency (such as a heart attack or stroke), dial 999 and ask for an ambulance.

It is possible that you are seen in more than one service. If your query is specifically about your heart condition, you should direct that query as outlined below.

Visit our team page for a full list of our congenital heart disease consultants. If you are under their care, then you are a patient of the congenital heart disease team.


Contact us by email if you are an existing patient who has previously been seen in our service and need advice from the clinical team, email us on gst-tr.achd@nhs.net and we will try to email back as soon as we can. You are likely to receive the quickest response by using an email query.

Contact us by telephone on 020 7188 9712 or 020 7188 1090 if you are worried about your health or feel that you are getting worse, or you are unable to email so that we can give you the help and treatment you need. Our phone lines are very busy and there may be a wait for your call to be answered. Please leave a message with your name, contact details, and query if we are unable to answer your call immediately.

Please note that many of our clinical staff are assisting with the unprecedented situation of coronavirus. This may mean a slightly longer wait to respond than usual. However, we assure you that we will contact you as soon as we can.

Contact us by email:

  • for queries regarding your appointment or the contact details we have for you
  • if you have recently discovered you are pregnant and need specific advice and guidance
  • if you are self-isolating for a confirmed or suspected COVID-19 infection.

Contact us by telephone:

  • if you need to urgently discuss your clinical condition, or are concerned about new symptoms 
  • if you do not have access to email or our website.

For GPs

Advice and guidance

We are doing everything we can to support GPs and your patients during the COVID-19 pandemic. Therefore, prior to any referral, we would strongly advise that GPs to seek advice and guidance via e-RS or Consultant Connect (if it is available in your area). Please note that all of our services available on e-RS are set up for Advice requests.

This will enable the clinical team to review your request and provide an interim treatment plan for ongoing management of a patient. They can also advise/provide clarification regarding a patients test results.

The GP can attach documents to the e-RS advice request, which may include diagnostic results, scanned images (e.g. ECGs). Providers can also respond with attachments

e-RS referrals

If you feel that a referral is absolutely necessary, please refer via e-RS and use the 'defer to provider' functionality for urgent/2ww referrals. Please attach the referral letter at the point of referral/within 24 hours. For 2ww referrals, please ensure that the patient meets the criteria ahead of referring. Please do not refer urgent patients under 2ww as this will overwhelm the service.

The Trust will vet the referral and either book into a virtual appointment or add the patient to the waiting list if they need a face to face appointment.

Please do not defer to provider routine referrals. Send the appointment request to the patient so they can do this when they are ready to book.

Please consider this before making any referral as our capacity to see new patients is very limited.

For any training issues/technical assistance with e-RS/smartcards, please contact your local CSU facilitators or Registration Authority Helpdesk.

Consultant Connect

For south-east London GPs, your Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) has commissioned the Consultant Connect service so you can also use this to seek advice.

We are in the process of expanding our Consultant Connect lines – these will be available Monday-Friday, 9am-5pm. The communication will come via your local CCG bulletins so please share this information within the practice.


 

What is congenital heart disease?

Congenital heart disease is a general term for a range of birth defects that affect the normal workings of the heart and great vessels. Congenital means a condition that is present at birth.

The population of adults with congenital heart disease continues to grow rapidly. This partly reflects the success of children's cardiology, children's heart surgery and specialist care in adulthood.

Although most of these adult patients are well, they are at risk of complications specific to their condition. The majority will need long term follow-up at a specialist centre.

Our service

The adult ACHD unit based at St Thomas’ provides a full range of medical, surgical and obstetric services. Our service includes:

See our sub-specialities tab for more information on each of the above services.

For dates and times of transition days, please see the transition page on the Evelina London Children's Healthcare website.

Coronavirus

Please visit the main Trust coronavirus (COVID-19) page for more information.

Contacts

Tel:020 7188 1090 ext 1082

Email:gst-tr.achd@nhs.net

Moving from children's to adult services?

Find out more about the transition between adult and children's heart services on the Evelina London Healthcare website