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New technology helps improve Welsh healthcare

Healthcare simulation with pic 1

28 June 2012

New, high level technologies which allow healthcare professionals to carry out simulated clinical scenarios are helping improve the standard of healthcare in Wales.

Speaking at a conference at Wrexham’s Glyndŵr University, Health and Social Services Minister Lesley Griffiths AM said that clinical simulation suites, featuring dummies which act like real patients, were a key part of training for the future NHS workforce in Wales.

The event at the Catrin Finch Centre – ‘Using simulation to encourage a more inter-professional approach to healthcare’ – was designed to promote the links between inter-professional education (IPE) and simulation with the overall aim of reducing harm to patients and promoting their well-being.

A simulation suite at the North Wales Clinical School based at Wrexham Maelor hospital and used by Glyndŵr University students is one of only a handful in Wales.

Simulation with pic 2

More than 40 students attended the conference, along with academics from Glyndŵr and other universities in the UK.

The conference included a live simulation delivered by student doctors and nurses, which highlighted the importance of effective communication within health care utilising communication tools now widely used throughout Wales as part of the 1000 lives Plus campaign, designed to improve patient safety across NHS Wales.

Lesley Griffiths said: “The Welsh Government is continuing to invest in training facilities and we’re very proud to have been able to provide modern, hi-tech simulation suites for students.

“We are keen to encourage collaborative work in the NHS and the simulation suites we have are a fantastic way of doing this.”

Two keynote speakers also featured at the event: Tom Doyle, chief learning officer at CAE Healthcare, a global company specialising in high fidelity manikins; and Dr Angus McFayden, vice chair of CAIPE, the Centre for the Advancement of Interprofessional Education.

They provided a stimulating discussion which highlighted within IPE, not only the value of high fidelity manikins and other high tech inputs in simulated patient care scenarios but also the value of simulations which employed little or no technology.

Event organiser Gary Stevenson, principal lecturer in nursing at Glyndŵr University, said: “We had a very good turnout for the conference and we were delighted with how it went.

"The HEA representative at the event was very impressed with the genuine teamwork and evidence of effective communication between nurse academic staff and nursing students of Glyndŵr University and noted this must be at the heart of our curriculum, which I am pleased to say, it is.

“As a  nurse education team we are committed to exploiting the synergies that exist between inter-professional education and simulation so events like this one open a dialogue with other interested parties such as occupational therapists, physiotherapists and social workers to name but a few.

“Working with the medical students taking part in the live simulation, who the day before the event had been complete strangers to us, was a delight and demonstrated how getting together to work on something breaks down professional barriers and is very enjoyable in the process.”

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