Dr Justin Carter

Cardiology patients requiring assessment during the Covid-19 / Corona virus pandemic:

We are all going through difficult times during the Covid pandemic. Patients with possible or existing heart disease span the whole spectrum of clinical urgency and need for face to face assessment:
  • Some with urgent problems (such as heart attack) shouldn’t be frightened to call for urgent help because of the Covid pandemic. Such patients should be treated with urgency in hospital. There is a tendancy for some to delay calling for help either due to fear of catching Covid whilst in hospital or driven by a sense that their attendance may ‘burden’ the health service further. We’d like to put aside those fears and encourage patient to call for help urgently.
  • Others with recent concerning symptoms will need to be seen (face to face) and assessed /investigated during the lockdown period. Those patients coming forward for assessment during the lockdown period will be carefully ‘risk assessed’ based on the risk of attending balanced against the risk of the underlying condition progressing and developing to cause problems without investigation and treatment.
  • Some patients, perhaps those at the higher end of the risk spectrum (for Covid/ Corona related conditions) will be best served by maintaining their isolation, avoiding hospital clinic attendance and for these patients, I am happy to offer video assisted consultations. Following video assisted assessment, if the risk benefit analysis suggests face to face assessment is warranted, this can be arranged.

Are cardiology consultations available during the Covid pandemic?

Yes, cardiology consultations remain available but according to good clinical practice, I will individually risk assess each consultation to involve face to face assessment (to allow for examining the patient and or performing bedside tests such ad an ECG or echocardiogram. The risk assessment will take into account:
• The likely underlying conditions being assessed (is it a low risk long term condition which can safely be assessed once the pandemic eases or may this be a more urgent, high risk condition for which the balance favours assessment during the lockdown period)
• the current national 'lockdown' status prohibiting non-essential travel
• the applicant's health status (ie presence or absence of Covid related symptoms)
• the health status of the applicants co-habitees (are any family members self-isolating)
• assessments of any available information about the prevalence of Covid-19 in the background population in the area in which the patient resides
• the travel distance for the applicant between home and the medical examination centre
• the availability of a 'clean' (non Covid-19) clinical area in which the consultation / assessment will be conducted
• the health status of the cardiologist (and the examiners co-habitees)
• and the availability of adequate PPE for the examination to be conducted using Public Health England PPE guidance.

Video assisted (remote) cardiology consultations:

These will be delivered on the Zoom platform. Patients requiring review will need to arrange an appointment by telephone or email with my secretary (see the Booking page). Practical details will be clarified and once a video consultation has been agreed, the patient or relatives will need to download the Zoom app from the app store and the Zoom assisted video consultation will take place at the appointed time. If further assessment is required following the video assisted consultation, this will be planned to take place with the minimum physical contact achievable.