How much contact do you have with your cardiologist/ep?

I'm wondering what the usual level of contact is with your heart specialist?

The last time I went in to see a consultant I was prescribed Sotalol and given a follow up appointment for six months time - is this usual for the UK?

I only ask because I was in Sweden last weekend and actually ended up at Gothenburg A&E. I was told there that they would not prescribe a medication as strong as Sotalol without having frequent follow up appointments to make sure everything was OK. I also read that in the US they keep you in hospital and monitor your closely while you start Amiodorone or Sotalol.

I actually had a bad reaction to Sotalol so have been put back onto Bisoprolol instead.

23 Replies

  • Sotalol has been removed from the approved list of drugs for AF since mid 2014. Time to see an EP rather than a cardiologist me thinks.

  • Thanks Bob,

    How do I go about getting to see an EP? Do I just write to my cardiologist and request it?

  • Look up the main AF-Association website under patient information and find one near you. Then ask you GP to refer you. You may find it worth a private first consult but then need to ring the EP's secretary and still get you GP letter. In UK you may have to fight to get this but it is your right.


  • Thanks again Bob,

    I have found a Dr of Electrophysiology and devices based at Gelnfield Hospital, which is where I am currently under a cardiologist.

    [EDIT] I have also found a Consultant Cardiologist at the same Hospital who is listed as specialising in AF.

    I didn't realise I could make private consultation?

    Is there anyway to tell who may be the leading person within my local area?

  • I was referred to an EP privately, rather than face months of waiting on the NHS. My GP was quite knowledgeable about resources - people and facilities - within N Ireland and he was very supportive of my request. Might your GP give advice?

  • I too was referred directly from my GP to a private EP. I had been suffering for months, could hardly walk or work, it was the only way to get the ball rolling. Ended up being prescribed new drugs within weeks and problem solved.

    Who said healthcare is free! I suppose it is, eventually and possibly too late.


  • It depends a lot on where you live, your health authority's policies and how bad your symptoms are. Get your GPs surgery to do an ECG - adds weight. Some are seen inside a couple of weeks.

  • Not that I know. Try ringing them up!

  • Hi joebob, I am on sotolol, prescribed by my cardiologist, some six months ago,

    I do not have a follow up, app.. I also had an Ablation 10 weeks ago, which ended up with me having cardio version ,and am still waiting for a follow up app with my EP specialist, whom I should have seen after eight weeks post ablation,.

    I have called his secretary, my GP has written to him, and still no app.

    One of the reasons I was told by his secretary was there was a long list of patients waiting to see him.. I have to see him at my local hospital, which he only attends once a month. From the QE in Birmigham,

    But my supposedly cardiologist, who was also written to also, has never bothered to send an app either.after having a botched ablation , ending with a tear in my heart lining..

    I can honestly say, that the NHS in this country, is just on the verge of collapse..

    And the reasons for that, I'm sure everyone knows.. At keast that's my experience.

    We live in the border of Wales, I'm thinking of changing to the cardiology group at Wrexham hospital. I've heard they are the best.. Cheerio and good luck😉

  • Oh I think NHS is wonderful and three times so far they have saved my life . Some might not think that a good thing but I People always blame NHS when it doesn't work for them but in reality it is the local services or poor doctors and nurses rather than NHS on general and that does get very political. As an example we had a member here a few years ago who thought Wrexham the pits.


  • Guess I was spoilt, living in the USA for 15 years.. Where i had my HA..

    And subsequently my A/ F

    Ok I know the insurance deal, but we had the very best , with my hubby's job, else I doubt bi would be on gods good earth now..

    My husband also..

    However in the 6 years we have been living back in the UK.. I see a big deterioration . In the health care system.. Here..

    I also. Believe it depends on you're post code, as to the type of care and services you recieve.

    I have relations living in the big cities,that have good health care,

    We unfortunately live out in the sticks,, and our nearest hospital is Wrexham.. I've had good and bad treatment there,m but they do not do specialist stuff, my other two hospitals are Telford and Shrewsbury,

    Do not rate either...

  • I live in Flintshire. My excellent Cardiologist is at Glan Clwyd, Rhyl. This is part of Betsi Cadwalladr along with Wrexham Maelor. If you need an ablation or a heart operation then you are refered to Liverpool Heart and Chest Hospital at Broardgreen.

    I have not heard about the Cardiology Dept at Wrexham lately. About 5 years ago I was working in Wxm and collapsed with my first AF attack. A& E were excellent and I was kept in overnight. The Cardiologist was supposed to see me at noon but never arrived. When I decided to leave his very cocky assistant demanded that I wait an hour until aspirin tablets were supplied to me from the dispensary. I told him that I 'd buy my own and left at 3.30. Ironically the aspirin upset my stomach very badly and I now know that they were worse than useless.

    PS Broadgreen is first class if you can find your way in. I have a post code for it that is more useful than the one on their address if you need it.

  • I have seen my cardiologist once. He changed my Bisoprolol to Sotalol, like you, and said he would see me in three months. That was four months ago! I have phoned up appointments this morning and I am on the list to be seen when he has an appointment free. Meanwhile I went to my GP to tell him that I couldn't continue on the Sotalol, so he changed my medication back to Bisoprolol, but double the strength I was on originally.

    Apart from the trip to A&E, I hope that you enjoyed Gothenburg.


  • Have not seen consultant since last September. Only see GP on own initiation. Get more info from Health Unblocked

  • As I said in previous posts,I was diagnosed in Tenerife,how Lucy I was,I had excellent treatment,I was in hospital 9days,a bit of a nuisance on a 14day holiday,but I now class myself fortunate,having returned home the end of March,with instructions to see a Cardiologist the following week!

    I laughed, and Sid I would be so lucky and the Cardiologist sympathized with me,he has heard it before!!!

    Went to my GO (who has to go this ridiculous Choose and Book) to slow down appointments and give patients less choice!The earliest appt in my area is end of July!

    Totally unacceptable!

    Fortunately we had joined BUPA on my husband's retirement!

    We both worked in the NHS and could see how it was going!

    Now very happy with my Cardiologist!

  • I see my cardio every two weeks (paying £5 each visit) and can see the EP when I want which costs 60p. But can't get enough drugs to manage my condition plus prescriptions cost the earth

  • Cardio visit costs just a fiver! That's cheap - I wouldn't mind paying extra like that for additional visits.

    Re' prescriptions. Have you considered buying a quarterly/annual prepayment card? It works out loads cheaper.

  • Japan doesn't do prepayments, have to pay in full and get a refund at the end of the year if you've paid over five hundred quid

  • Sorry, didn't realise you were in Japan... I should have guessed from your user name!

  • I was in hospital over a year ago, discharged with a letter to my GP who either couldn't or wouldn't explain what it meant! I suggested that my dose of Diltiazem was too high she said she wouldn't change it and did not offer to contact cardiologist. Finally got an appointment to see him after I showed on my Alivecor trace that my heart was pausing. My appointment is for 6th August, nearly three month wait......

  • I see my cardiologist every time his computer breaks.

    I fix his computers, he fixes my heart, works out well :)

  • Ha, like it.

    Maybe I shoiuld arrange a similar deal. I work as an IT Trainer and actually used to work as a contracte rto the NHS.

  • It's a good deal, when I am at his place sorting out his IT stuff, I am constantly asking heart questions :)

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