“The Somerville Foundation is going to great lengths to provide the best possible information and clarification for patients. Our own guidance has been written for us by our Medical Advisor and expert Consultant Dr Fiona Walker. We have also published the guidance issued by the BCCA as it is our duty to pass on as much expert advice as possible. Some people would understandably like further clarification with respect to the list of complex conditions outlined in the guidance, but it is not possible to list the large variety of different CHD conditions. However just because your condition is not listed here it does not mean that you should not follow the strictest guidance outlined. No employer should take this as evidence that you do not fall into the ‘at risk category’. It is not possible to include every person’s individual case in general guidance designed to cater for the majority of cases. Specialist Centres are currently very busy due to the current crisis, they will get back to you when they are able to. Contact them only if you are very concerned or are seriously ill.”

Latest Covid Updates

Read the latest Covid Updates in our blog.

Carers now priority group 6 for COVID vaccinations - 9 Feb 21

Carers now priority group 6 for COVID vaccinations


To ensure that you are registered as a carer one needs to contact their GP and ensure their records reflect that they are a carer for a relative or person in need of care. Doesn’t need to be a paid carer. So if a CHD patient is in Category 4 or 6 on the vaccine rollout their partners/children/friends could contact their GP and ensure they are down as their carers and be put in category 6 for the vaccine rollout. Read more here.

The Somerville COVID Support Fund - January 2021

About the Fund

We are pleased to announce we have obtained funding which enables us to setup a “COVID Support Fund”. This fund is specifically for CHD patients who have been adversely affected by COVID in some way and is primarily to provide financial assistance and help to make a difference to those who find themselves in difficult circumstances.

CoaguChek Machine

We are able to supply CoaguChek machines direct to CHD patients. If your health care professional recommends you for self testing, these can be obtained at a discounted rate. Or you may be able to receive a fully-funded machine via our Covid Support Fund. Contact the office on for more information on applying.

BCCA Guidance - 18 January 21

COVID-19: BCCA guidance for immunisation: 18 January 2021

COVID-19: BCCA updated guidance for patients, parents, charities and support groups: groups in light of national lockdown for England (11 November 2020)

COVID-19: BCCA BCCA guidance for extremely vulnerable groups with congenital heart disease (27 March 2020)

What is Coronavirus?

Coronavirus (COVID-19) is a new illness that can affect your lungs and airways. It’s caused by a virus called coronavirus.

As there is no specific medical advice for adults with CHD and coronavirus, anyone who is concerned for their health should contact their doctor, nurse, specialist centre or ACHD team for advice. The NHS Advise “Do not go to a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital. Call 111 if you need to speak to someone.”

Where possible, use phone, online services, or apps to contact your GP surgery or other NHS services.

Staying Safe during the Coronavirus Pandemic

Please be aware that whilst the majority of people are genuine, there are those who seek to exploit individuals during the coronavirus outbreak. A reminder to always ask for ID from anyone claiming to be from the emergency services or the voluntary sector and not to open the door to anyone you are not expecting. Be wary of phone scams such as coronavirus tax refunds, fake cures, World Health Organisation impersonation emails and bit coin payments.

If you feel in immediate danger call 999 or if you know someone is vulnerable and has been a victim of fraud, get in touch with your local constabulary. View the police website for further advice. To report something anonymously call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or visit Alternatively call 101 for non-urgent matters.
Always call 999 in emergencies, or if an immediate police response is required.

COVID-19 Tips & Video Resources - 17 Nov 20

Tips for coping during the coronavirus pandemic – PDF

Video Playlist: Protecting you mental health during Covid-19

Video – Webinar 6 November 2020 – Covid 19 & Beyond – Prof Michael Gatzoulis & Team

Useful Information

  • Covid 19 Era and Beyond – A Call for Action Gatzoulis et all IJC CHD July 2020: International Journal of Cardiology Congenital Heart Disease
  • GOV.UK Advice on staying at home and away from others (social distancing)
  • NHS Advice for people at high risk
  • COVID-19: BCCA practical guidance for patients, parents, charities and support groups (11 June 2020)
  • GOV.UK guidance on social distancing and vulnerable adults
  • The Somerville Foundation’s guidance on coronavirus for CHD patients and visit our blog for more information regarding coronavirus
  • Specialist Centres
  • Video: Professor Michael Gatzoulis – Professor of Cardiology, Congenital Heart Disease and Consultant Cardiologist, talks about coronavirus and CHD patients
  • Journal: The Globe on the Spotlight: Coronavirus (Covid-19)
  • Read about our COVID-19 Appeal & donate

NHS Advice

Advice for everyone
Everyone must stay at home to help stop the spread of coronavirus.

You should only leave the house for very limited purposes:

  • shopping for basic necessities, for example food and medicine, which must be as infrequent as possible
  • one form of exercise a day, for example a run, walk, or cycle – alone or with members of your household
  • any medical need, including to donate blood, avoid or escape risk of injury or harm, or to provide care or to help a vulnerable person
  • travelling for work purposes, but only where you cannot work from home.
  • These reasons are exceptions – even when doing these activities, you should be minimising time spent outside of the home and ensuring you are 2 metres apart from anyone outside of your household.

Specific Advice:

Advice for staying at home if you’re at high risk of getting seriously ill from coronavirus

Advice for staying at home if you or someone you live with has symptoms of coronavirus

Advice for people at higher risk from coronavirus

General Hygiene

  • cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when you cough or sneeze
  • put used tissues in the bin immediately
  • wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, use hand sanitiser gel if soap and water are not available
  • try to avoid close contact with people who are unwell

Symptoms and what to do

Do not leave your home if you have coronavirus symptoms
Do not leave your home if you have either:

  • a high temperature – this means you feel hot to touch on your chest or back (you do not need to measure your temperature)
  • a new, continuous cough – this means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or 3 or more coughing episodes in 24 hours (if you usually have a cough, it may be worse than usual)
  • To protect others, do not go to places like a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital. Stay at home.
  • If you have symptoms of coronavirus (a high temperature or a new, continuous cough), use the 111 coronavirus service.

Read NHS’s advice about self-isolation.

Looking after your health and wellbeing

To help yourself stay well while you’re at home:

  • stay in touch with family and friends over the phone or on social media
  • try to keep yourself busy – you could try activities like cooking, reading, online learning and watching films
  • do light exercise at home, or outside once a day


Use the NHS 111 online coronavirus service if:

Only call 111 if you cannot get help online.

Other Links

BCCA (British Congenital Cardiac Association Website)

MIND – Coronavirus and your well being

World Health Organisation – Also has useful information on coronavirus as well as informative videos


GOV – Guidance for British people travelling overseas during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic

Foreign & Commonwealth Office  – website for guidance should you have travel plans

Specialist Centres Covid-19 Guidance