A pioneering mobile heart scanning clinic that’s the first of its kind in the UK is helping to cut waiting times for patients in rural parts of Gwynedd and Anglesey.

The clinic was set up by Dr Graham Thomas, a GP specialising in heart problems and is staffed by specialist nurses and cardiac physiologists using state of the art portable machinery.

Run by Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board, the initiative sees patients with potentially life-threatening heart problems in rural areas given access to assessment, diagnosis and treatment close to home, rather than travel to Bangor.

The one-stop clinics are set up in community hospitals, GP surgeries or even the homes of housebound patients.

Heart failure nurse specialist Viki Jenkins is one of the first to have worked on the scheme, which has now been rolled out to other parts of rural North Wales and a similar model taken up by other health boards.

Viki and her colleagues see people with a variety of heart problems or those at risk of developing them.

She said, ‘We use Echo (ultrasound) scanning to diagnose patients for the first time or to carry out regular check ups of those that have suffered with cardiac problems in the past.

‘Our advanced training means that instead of having to refer scans back to consultants, we will interpret them and can give results there and then, as well as initiate the next course of action, where necessary.

‘At some clinics, we use our expertise to carry out pre-op assessments to check on the heart function of patients who are due to undergo surgery and anaesthetic. This saves the patient from going to hospital first for this assessment and then a second time for the operation.’

Source: Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board