Care for ACHD patients at Royal Brompton & Harefield hospitals in light of COVID-19: an update as of 8th May 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic has seen the NHS cope with unprecedented levels of activity, in extremely challenging circumstances. In line with other NHS hospitals, Royal Brompton scaled down all non-emergency work to free up capacity for COVID-19 patients, and other patients who needed emergency treatment, who have continued to be treated throughout the pandemic.

Following a reduction in the number of patients presenting at hospital with COVID-19, we are now working collaboratively with other hospitals on plans to re-start non-emergency work. An important factor in planning this process is, of course, patient safety. We need to be sure that patients who need to be seen on-site can attend without being exposed to unnecessary risk. Our clinicians are leading this work and are responsible for identifying patients whose care cannot reasonably be delayed, and those for whom a delay of some weeks is clinically acceptable, although regrettable.

Professor Michael Gatzoulis, consultant cardiologist and head of the Adult Congenital Heart Centre at Royal Brompton Hospital, explains: “I would like to reassure all our patients and their families that we are opening ACHD capacity now having been at the forefront of the national effort and contributed a great deal to the first Covid pandemic wave.

"Our ACHD team has worked 24/7 during this challenging time to care for our patients via teleclinics, website, webinars, papers, and collaboration with the patients’ association.  

We have now reviewed all pending or cancelled procedures and investigations and classified them into red (absolute priority) amber (action needs to be taken in 3-6 months) and green (safe to defer them for longer, if necessary). We will be in touch with everyone over the coming weeks.

We are also working hard towards an improved model of care, giving patients a personalised approach to their ACHD needs and a better experience, incorporating education and empowerment and utilising technology for remote monitoring.. I am very excited about this.

We will keep everyone abreast of these developments, and in the meantime our website provides regular updates, additional resources and useful reading material. Just search 'ACHD RBHT' on Google.”

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