Rapid Access Cardiology Clinics were introduced many years ago for the assessment of chest pain. Following the publication of the National Service Framework (NSF) for Coronary Heart Disease (CHD)1 the number of rapid access chest pain clinics (RACPCs) has expanded dramatically. Standard 8 of the NSF for CHD describes the use of chest pain clinics to provide specialist advice to people with symptoms of angina or suspected angina. One of the goals of the NSF was that there should be at least 100 RACPCs in the UK by April 2002. This goal has been superseded.
More recently, rapid access clinics have also been introduced for the assessment of suspected cases of heart failure and cardiac arrhythmias.
While the concept is that a prompt ‘one-stop’ assessment provides care that is clinically superior to traditional services in a cost-effective manner, there are few data describing outcomes of the patients seen in these services. In this report, we review the available evidence on rapid cardiology services.
For UK healthcare professionals only