Supporting our patients through their congenital heart condition and journey is a key Network priority. 

Patients and families often have a number of questions, worries or concerns in relation to their or their loved one's cardiac condition. There are a number of types of support available and different services they can access according to their level of need. 

There are three levels of care that we recommend considering in relation to your patient. 

Our online 'digibooks' are interactive documents aimed at signposting patients and families to a large range of approved sources of information, covering questions or concerns that they have told us they often have. 

The digibook's can be found on the 'Getting Support' tab, in the Patients and Families area of the website. The 'digibooks' contain details on the different levels of support we recommend:

Level one support is about finding out more. 

This section details many online resources that patients and families can access at home, whenever they need to. 

Level two support is about talking to someone.

This section details a range of local support groups and organisations that patients and families can access if they feel they would like to speak to someone in person or by telephone, about their worries or concerns. 

Level three support is specialist support. 

This section details how patients and families can access specialist support, according to the nature of their concern or worry.

The Clinical Psychology Service

Across the Network there are specialist clinical teams that can provide support including: Clinical Nurse Specialists*, Play Specialists (for Children) and Clinical Psychologists. 

The Level 1 Centre (Bristol) Clinical Psychology service can offer face to face, telephone or virtual (skype) appointments to patients and families across the Network region. It is a lifespan service covering Fetal, Children, Teenage and Adult patients, who have worries or concerns related specifically to their or their child's cardiac condition or hospital admission. Referrals to this service should be made through the patient's Level 1 Clinical Nurse Specialist or Consultant.*

The team of four clinical psychologists are able to provide specialist support in the following areas:

  • Fetal
  • Surgical
  • Catheter
  • Procedural preparation and support
  • Acute anxiety or distress specifically related to their cardiac condition 


Referral to Psychology Services 

Following receipt of a referral, a clinical psychologist will contact the patient/family and offer an appointment to discuss their support needs. 

ACHD Psychology Service Referral Criteria (Bristol Heart Institute) 

If you would like to discuss a referral or the Level 1 service in more detail, please call: 0117 342 8168 (Monday - Friday, 8am - 5pm). 


Find out more: 

Leaflet on the Psychology Service for Paediatric Cardiology (BRHC)

Leaflet on Adult Congenital Heart Disease (ACHD) Psychology Service (BHI)



*Please see the Hospitals section for information on individual clinicians. Contact details for Clinical Nurse Specialists can be found on our Frequently Asked Questions page. 


QR code posters signposting to patient information leaflets




Click here for more information on support for babies and children with CHD

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Click here for more information on support for young people with CHD

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Click here for more information on support for adults with CHD

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Click here for more information on support for parents and carers of children with CHD

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