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£400,000 grant to boost training

£400,000 grant to boost training

Date of release: 11 April 2023

A £400,000 grant has been described as a “gift from the gods” after transforming a simulation suite to allow fully immersive state-of-the-art training for 1,200 medical and clinical staff in Wolverhampton for the next five years.

The grant, from Health Education England (now part of NHS England), has enabled the Catheterisation Laboratory on Ward B15 in the Heart and Lung Centre at New Cross Hospital to be converted into the I-Sim Suite, with three simulators, including a full-body mannequin called Leonardo.

Latest News: I-Sim Suite
From left: Karen Wooding, Stuart Hamilton, Vangie Griffin, Senior Sister on Ward B15, Heart and Lung Centre, Dr Lampson Fan and Rebecca Simons, Senior Matron for Cardiology and Cardiothoracic Services.

Life-sized Leonardo boasts many of the functions of a human – weighing between 60-70 kilos, he has a heartbeat, he can be hooked up to a camera so his 180-degree view can be seen, and can blink, talk, sweat and even vomit and swear! 

Two hi-fidelity pieces of equipment are attached to the patient and give life-like readings and images, allowing the simulation of technical aspects of the team’s work. 

An angiography simulator is a type of X-ray used to check blood vessels following the injection of a special dye into the patient’s blood to highlight any problems. 

An echo cardiogram simulator scans the heart and mirrors as closely as possible how a real patient would react. 

Dr Lampson Fan, Interventional Cardiology Consultant and Cath Lab Lead at The Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust (RWT), said: “It’s difficult to train people in high-pressure situations when they happen as they need to be dealt with there and then – you can’t simulate someone having a heart attack or a cardiac arrest. 

“So simulation using a whole body system has become an option to improve staff training and improve the ability to deal with these situations, as well as assess teamwork, resilience and communication. 

“In the long term, we hope this improves our response, not just in emergency situations, but in day-to-day situations too. For the next five years, this will become the cornerstone of training for Junior Doctors, Cardiothoracic Surgeons, Vascular Surgeons, Theatres Nurses, Ward Nurses, Physiologists, Radiographers and Porters in Theatres. 

“We want to involve other departments too, to improve the quality of education for everyone. If everyone has better scenarios to learn from, you’re facilitating better staff training and this will lead to better patient outcomes. We really are pushing the boundaries.” 

Stuart Hamilton, Clinical Lead for Clinical Skills and Resuscitation Training at RWT, said: “It’s gift from the gods and Cardiology has embraced it. Immersive fidelity training makes you believe it’s real. You can test the tiniest thing in a system with this – this is what in-situ training is all about. 

“This is insitu simulation training run by multi-disciplinary teams for the areas, in those areas.” 

Karen Wooding, Senior Matron in Cardiothoracics, Cardiology, Integrated Critical Care, Sepsis and Outreach at RWT, said: “Simulation is a safe environment where people can receive constructive feedback and professional development so our staff feel valued and invested in.” 

Chander Sharma, Group Manager, Cardiology/Cardiothoracic Services at RWT, said: “This very much emphasises our Trust’s culture of training and development. It is a testament to all the hard work by Dr Lampson and his team in successfully introducing innovative, professional development for our staff, that will provide not just immediate benefits, but hopefully for future generations of staff here at RWT.” 

Joseph Kelly, Highly Specialised Cardiac Physiologist at RWT, said: “These clinical scenarios are a great opportunity for anyone to get together from all different lines of work to go through scenarios out of the normal pressurised situations. It allows us to talk through things in a more methodical way to get feedback there and there about what we can do differently to improve patient care.”

Notes to Editors

  • For more information, please contact Tim Nash on 07714 741097 or email  tim.nash2@nhs.net
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