Read our latest advice on Coronavirus (COVID-19)


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Coronavirus and vascular surgery: frequently asked questions

Information for patients

Frequently asked questions

Answers to common questions we have received during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

  • I am concerned that my condition is getting worse

    The vascular team has an urgent email address which is answered daily: gst-tr.urgentvascular@nhs.net. Or you can phone our urgent telephone number 07775018299 and leave a voice message.

  • Is there a number that I can dial 24/7 other than the ambulance?

    Unfortunately we do not have a 24/7 number that patients can call directly. However, our urgent mobile number, 07775018299 is checked regularly.

  • Is my GP surgery open as usual?

    Please check with your GP surgery to find out what services are available to you.

  • If my appointment has been deferred, when will it be rescheduled?

    We are actively managing all of our waiting lists. As soon as we are able, we will begin to reschedule patients for their appointments. Unfortunately, at this time, we do not know when this will be.

  • I have some appointments coming in the next few weeks are they all cancelled?

    Yes, all face-to-face outpatient appointments are cancelled but a doctor or nurse will contact you by phone or letter.

  • If I need to come to emergency vascular clinic (EVC), no one can now take me. How can I arrange transport?

    If you need to come to EVC one of the nurses will arrange for you come to the clinic via taxi, which we will arrange.

  • Will the hospital transport be running a service?

    Yes they will. Contact us by email on gst-tr.cardiology@nhs.net and we will try to email back as soon as we can. You can also contact us by telephone on 020 7188 8524 or 020 7188 1073. Our phone lines are very busy and there may be a wait for your call to be answered.

  • When will surgery resume?

    We are not able to answer this question at the moment (April 2020) as it depends on what happens with coronavirus (COVID-19). However, it is extremely unlikely that we will be able to resume elective operating for another two to three months.

  • Are surveillance scans still being carried out?

    The surveillance programme has been temporarily suspended and will be restarted as soon as it is safe to do so.

  • What is the contact information if I have an urgent questions or query?

    We have an urgent email address which is answered daily: gst-tr.urgentvascular@nhs.net.

  • I am worried I might have coronavirus (COVID-19)

    Please also bear in mind that the majority of patients, including the majority of cardiac patients, will make a full recovery from coronavirus (COVID-19).

    Do not leave your home if you have coronavirus symptoms:

    • a high temperature – this means you feel hot to touch on your chest or back (you do not need to measure your temperature)
    • a new, continuous cough – this means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or three or more coughing episodes in 24 hours (if you usually have a cough, it may be worse than usual).

    To protect others, do not go to places like a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital. Stay at home.

    Use the NHS 111 online coronavirus service to find out what to do. Only call 111 if you cannot get help online.

  • I have symptoms that are worrying me and am not sure what to do

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

    If you are concerned that your symptoms relate to coronavirus (COVID-19), you should use the NHS 111 online coronavirus service to find out what to do. To protect yourself from exposure to coronavirus (COVID-19), you should remain at home and follow government advice on social distancing and self-isolation.

    Whether or not you have coronavirus symptoms, it is essential to come to hospital if you have a medical emergency, or if your heart symptoms get much worse.

    Despite the pressure that the NHS is under, you should always dial 999 immediately if you:

    • have sudden chest pain which spreads to your arms, back, neck or jaw
    • have sudden chest pain which feels heavy or tight
    • show signs of a stroke, such as your face drooping on one side, are unable to hold both arms up, or have difficulty speaking.
    • have severe difficulty breathing such as gasping for breath, choking, lips turning blue, or not being able to get words out.

    If you are concerned that your symptoms relate to coronavirus, you should use the NHS 111 online coronavirus service to find out what to do. To protect yourself from exposure to coronavirus, you should remain at home and follow government advice on social distancing and self isolation.

    Whether or not you have coronavirus (COVID-19) symptoms, it is essential to come to hospital if you have a medical emergency, or if your heart symptoms get much worse.

    If the symptoms are related to the condition that are long-standing and you need specific clinical advice, please contact your specialist cardiovascular team.

  • When are hospital services going to return to normal?

    Unfortunately, we do not know how long this will last. We understand that this is a concerning time. Providing our patients with the best – and safest – care is essential. But we can assure you that we will continue to work together to ensure that services are safe and effective for our patients.

  • I am a patient and am worried about getting coronavirus (COVID-19). Should I shield myself/self-isolate?

    Coronavirus (COVID-19) can make anyone seriously ill. But some people are at a higher risk and need to take extra steps to avoid becoming unwell. Having a heart and circulatory condition probably doesn't make you any more likely to catch coronavirus than anyone else. But if you have a heart or circulatory condition it may mean that you could get more ill if you get coronavirus, which is why it’s really important to protect yourself.

    The NHS website has advice for people who may be at higher risk, including what they can do to protect themselves.

    Even if you are not at extremely high risk, you should be staying at home apart from essential needs as per current advice, as you may still be at particularly high risk because of your heart condition. You may be at particularly high risk if you have:

    • heart or circulatory disease and are aged over 70
    • heart or circulatory disease and lung disease or chronic kidney disease
    • angina that restricts your daily life, or means you have to use glyceryl trinitrate (GTN) frequently
    • heart failure, especially if it restricts your daily life or you've been admitted to hospital to treat your heart failure in the past year
    • heart valve disease that is severe and associated with symptoms, such as regularly feeling breathless, or you have symptoms from your heart valve problem despite medication, or if you are waiting for valve surgery. (A heart murmur that does not cause you symptoms doesn't put you at high risk).
  • Should I continue my medication (s)

    Do not stop any medication unless specifically told to do so by your clinical team. 

    If you are experiencing new symptoms, or are concerned about your medications, please contact your specialist cardiovascular team.

  • My medication is running out and I need a prescription

    If your medication is usually prescribed by your GP contact the surgery.

    We understand that some patients are struggling to get in touch with the GP practices, in which case please contact the team looking after you so we can help if we can.

  • I have an appointment soon and have not heard from you

    We are attempting to contact all patients in advance of their appointments.

    If you haven't heard from us and your appointment is less than three days away, please contact the team looking after you (that is, the team and consultant to whom you have been referred).

  • I am unable to get in touch with my usual doctor or nurse and am worried

    We are really sorry as we know it is a very stressful time, especially if you can’t speak to the people who know you best.

    Our cardiovascular department is a large team, and lots of us have (and will be) deployed to help other teams during this unprecedented coronavirus (COVID-19) situation.

    Another doctor or nurse may be handling your care and will contact you in the meantime. They will have access to all of the information they need about your care.

  • I have been referred to the service. Why have I not heard anything?

    We know that being referred to see a specialist can be concerning, and that the coronavirus situation may be making you feel more anxious.

    Please be assured that we have received your referral and one of our specialists is reviewing it.

    If your appointment is urgent, you will be scheduled for a face-to-face appointment or a clinician may contact you by phone.