Cardiology (Heart)

Dr Penny Morris, Lead Consultant Clinical Psychologist and Dr Lucy Holmes, Clinical Psychologist, provide a service to patients referred by Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust Cardiology Department.

Appointments are available at St James’s Hospital (Fielding House) or via video consultation.

Further information for patients

Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust Clinical Psychology Service for People with Heart Problems.

What is this information about?

This information aims to answer some of the questions you may have about the Clinical Psychology Service for People with heart problems.

Why is there a Clinical Psychologist in the Cardiology Service?

Living with heart problems can bring many different feelings, both for you and those close to you. These may include shock, disbelief, fear, anxiety, loneliness and resentment. Sometimes they come together in a way that can feel overwhelming. This may cause you to worry about how you will manage. This is where a Clinical Psychologist may be able to help. Our role is to provide emotional and psychological support to patients who have heart disease.

How could the Clinical Psychology Service help?

Psychologists can help people in a variety of ways. Rather than prescribing medications, Clinical Psychologists are trained to help people talk through their problems. The person you see will have an understanding of the psychological effects that heart disease and its treatment can have. Everyone is different and many people find it helpful to talk about how the heart disease may affect different areas of their lives. Sometimes talking through problems can help people to find better ways of managing their difficulties. You will not have to talk about anything that you don’t want to. 

Examples of things that people often talk to Clinical Psychologists about include: 

  • Severe anxiety and/or panic attacks related to cardiac symptoms or treatment 
  • Depression as a result of the heart condition 
  • Trauma reactions to a cardiac event or procedure
  • Phobias relating to cardiac symptoms or treatment
  • Difficulties adjusting to diagnoses and/or treatment regimes

Who is the service for?

The service is available to all adult patients at any stage of heart disease who are under the care of the Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust Adult Cardiology Service.  We focus on helping with the emotional or psychological difficulties relating to heart problems.  It may be that some of your difficulties are not related to your experience of heart disease and if so, we may help you access another source of support for these issues.

What happens to the information I share with you?

Information that you share with the Clinical Psychologist is kept confidential and notes we write in meetings will be kept separate from your medical notes. Clinical Psychologists have a responsibility to tell somebody if they are worried that you or somebody else is at risk of getting hurt. We would always try to discuss this with you first. Your Clinical Psychologist will talk more about confidentiality with you at your first appointment.

What should I do if I would like this kind of help?

If you feel that you might benefit from talking to a Clinical Psychologist, please speak to your Cardiology Doctors or Clinical Nurse Specialists. They will help to decide if this is the most appropriate service for you. There might be a wait before you can be seen by the service (the doctor or nurse referring you will be able to find out more about this, or you could telephone our department).

Who will I see?

The person you will see will usually be a qualified Clinical Psychologist who specialises in working with people with heart disease. You will usually see the same person throughout your care. You may be seen by a Psychologist in Clinical Training. This Psychologist will be closely supervised by a qualified Clinical Psychologist. 

How often will you see the Clinical Psychologist?

You and the Clinical Psychologist can discuss how often it would be best to meet. Some people see the Clinical Psychologist only once or twice, others may see them once a week or once a fortnight for several weeks or months.

Where will I see the psychologist?

Appointments are offered at:

The Department of Clinical and Health Psychology
Fielding House
St James’s University Hospital
Beckett Street
LS9 7T

Where can I get more information?

If you want to find out more about the Clinical Psychology Service, please ask one of the doctors or Clinical Nurse Specialists involved in your care. 

The Clinical Psychologists working in the Clinical Psychology Cardiology Service are: 

Dr Penny Morris, Lead Consultant Clinical Psychologist

Dr Lucy Holmes, Clinical Psychologist

The Department of Clinical and Health Psychology
Fielding House
St James’s University Hospital
Beckett Street

Useful resources:

  • The British Heart Foundation has some helpful links around emotional support for those people affected by heart disease, please visit their Emotional Support and Wellbeing Web Page for further information.
  • Pumping Marvellous is a charity supporting people living with heart failure, please visit the Pumping Marvellous Website for further information.

Please note that for legal purposes The Leeds Teaching Hospitals Trust is not responsible for the content or reliability of linked websites