HEART patients in Southampton are the first in the world to use a new mobile pacemaker station.

The CareLink Express unit allows people fitted with the life-saving device to have instant check-ups on its condition whenever it suits them.

Pacemakers are small electronic devices implanted in the chest to regulate a patient’s heartbeat, and regular monitoring allows experts to identify changes that could cause problems.

The pilot study, based at Bitterne Park Medical Centre, currently serves 2,000 people and is part of a University Hospital Southampton NHS programme aimed at cutting waiting times, missed appointments and to allow care closer to home.

Rather than visit the hospital for follow-up appointments, the mobile station allows a patient to check their pacemaker through on-screen instructions in a matter of minutes. Hospital staff can then access data remotely through a secure server and download it for review.

Hollie Cottrell, a cardiac physiologist at Southampton General, said: “The pilot study has enabled a number of patients local to the surgery the opportunity to visit whenever they want and head home immediately after their assessment.

“Once the team has evaluated their results, patients are sent a letter to inform them transmission was successful and when their next download is scheduled for.”