The rapid access chest pain clinic (RACPC) provides a quick and early specialist cardiology assessment for patients with new onset of exertional chest pain thought likely to be angina, and for patients not currently under a cardiologist who have known ischaemic heart disease and worsening symptoms, who need urgent assessment.

Clinics currently run on Tuesday and Thursday mornings on the University College Hospital site. This is a consultant-led clinic which enables rapid assessment of symptoms, following which any appropriate investigations will be booked and treatment started if necessary.

Clinic letters are usually sent out on the day. Our clinic is a fast route of entry into cardiology services for patients with suspected ischaemic heart disease. It allows quick access to appropriate treatment, either medication or invasive procedures, and to all-important advice on risk factor modification and prevention, and to rehabilitation services.

We accept referrals of patients with new onset chest pain suspected to be cardiac in origin. Referrers should send patients with known ischaemic heart disease to the general cardiology clinic unless they have worsening symptoms.

Patients with suspected myocardial infarction (MI) or acute coronary syndromes should go directly to A&E.

Patient contact

GP contact

Other referral information

Opening hours: Tuesday and Thursday, 8:30–12.00

Telephone: 020 3447 8066, Monday to Friday 9:00–17:00

NHS e-Referral Service (formerly Choose and Book referrals)

UCLH service name Choose and book specialty Clinic name
Rapid Access Chest Pain Clinic - Cardiology Cardiology Rapic access chest

Referral criteria are on the official referral form and are in line with NICE guidance issued in April 2010. This is a consultant-led clinic which enables a rapid assessment of symptoms following which any appropriate investigations will be booked and treatment may be started if necessary. 

Making a referral 
NHS e-Referral Service (formerly Choose and Book referrals)

Referral method: e-referral via the e-Referral system using the above details.

We care for patients with:

  • New onset exertional chest pain
  • Ischaemic heart disease and worsening symptoms in patients who need urgent assessment

The aim of the service is to offer a rapid assessment of the possible cause of your chest pain. Chest pain sometimes comes from the heart. You have been referred to the clinic because your doctor thinks your chest pain may be related to your heart and would like the opinion of a doctor who specialises in heart disease (a cardiologist).

  • Please bring a list of your tablets with you.
  • We aim to contact you within two weeks and offer you an appointment to be seen in the clinic.

Your visit may last around two hours, but is usually less. This depends on whether or not you need blood tests or have to collect medication from pharmacy, which can take additional time.

If you have any questions before your appointment, please call us on 020 3447 8066. If we are not there to answer your call, please leave your name and number on the answer machine and we will get back to you as soon as possible.

Please register your arrival on the screens in outpatients and on arrival in clinic J. A healthcare assistant/nurse will measure your blood pressure, pulse, height and weight. You will then have an electrocardiogram (ECG), which is a heart trace. You will see the cardiologist who will discuss your medical history and examine you.

Following this, if appropriate, you may be given an appointment for one or more of the following tests:

  • Blood tests
  • Chest X-ray
  • CT coronary angiogram (an outpatient X-ray of the arteries of the heart)
  • Echocardiogram (an ultrasound of the heart)
  • Stress echocardiogram (a specialised heart ultrasound during exercise, performed at St Bartholomew’s Hospital)
  • Myocardial perfusion scan (a special heart X ray)
  • 24-hour ECG also called a Holter monitor (a heart rhythm recording for 24 hours whereby you take a small recording box home and return it the next day)
  • Coronary angiogram (an inpatient X-ray of the heart arteries, performed at St Bartholomew’s Hospital)
  • Cardiac MRI (a scan of the heart, performed at St Bartholomew’s Hospital)
  • An exercise ECG test which involves walking on a treadmill at increasing speed while your pulse, blood pressure and heart trace are monitored by a cardiac technician.

Before you leave the clinic you will be told how you will get the results of any outpatient tests (usually by post) and, if possible, given an explanation of the likely cause of your chest pain. If the doctor feels it is necessary, you may be asked to come back for review to the outpatient department and possibly for more tests.

A letter will be sent to you and your GP containing all the information from your visit, including what has been done, your diagnosis (if known) and plans for future care.