Table 8.1

Outpatient services: key points

  • Rapid access services are now an integral part of outpatient cardiology services

  • Rapid access chest pain clinics are currently being developed throughout the country for the management of patients with suspected stable angina with a guaranteed waiting of no more than 2 weeks

  • All other cardiology referrals should be seen with a waiting time of no more than 4 weeks

  • Priority should be decided by careful screening of referral letter

  • Optimal communication with general practitioners is fundamental to the success of cardiology outpatient services

  • This must include clear guidelines on the indications for open access investigations, tailored referral and report forms, information on all clinics, and regular educational feedback meetings

  • The future way in which clinics must be run requires major reorganisation and provision of adequate medical, nursing, and administrative personnel.

  • Adequate IT facilities must be available to underpin an efficient and safe outpatient service.