Rapid access clinics

Rapid access clinic at Royal Brompton Hospital

If you have been experiencing:

  • shortness of breath
  • fatigue (tiredness)
  • fluid retention

Your GP may have referred you to the our rapid access clinic because they want to find out if any of your symptoms are heart-related. 

Your appointment at the rapid access clinic

Coming to see us is pretty straightforward. You can eat and drink as you normally would, and you don't have to do anything specific, but to make things easier, we always ask patients to:

  • bring a list of all your medications, including medication that you can buy over the counter without a prescription (this includes inhalers if you have them)
  • have your insulin and snacks with you if you are diabetic
  • wear loose-fitting clothes to the appointment - this makes taking your basic measurements (like blood pressure), easier

When you arrive at the hospital, go to the outpatient department on the first floor. If you need help or directions, just ask for help at the main reception desk.

When you get to the outpatient department, please let the receptionist know that you have an appointment at the rapid access heart function clinic. The receptionist will then organise the following tests for you:

  • blood tests – these are done to see how well your heart is working
  • electrocardiogram (ECG) – to record your heart rate and rhythm
  • echocardiogram (echo) – to build up a moving picture of your heart using sound waves
  • chest X-ray – to look at your chest, lungs and heart

When you finish your tests, the consultant or nurse specialist will discuss your symptoms and medical history with you, and examine your heart and chest. They will discuss the results and any recommendations with you

Copies of your clinic results and recommendations will be sent to your GP. 

Appointment length

The clinic usually takes about two-to-three hours, but can sometimes take longer. We will always let you know if we're expecting any delays. 

Contact us

If you would like to speak to someone to get more information about the rapid access heart function clinic, you can call the nurse specialist in heart failure, on 01895 828 916. 

If you feel unwell, please contact your GP for medical advice or call 111, the 24-hour NHS non-emergency number, to speak to an adviser. In an emergency, call 999 for an ambulance. 

If you are a GP, find out how to refer a patient to the rapid access heart function clinic.