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UK’s first state-of-the-art extended reality training facility opens at County Hospital in Stafford

(L-R) Dr Mark Poulson, Tracey Bullock and Jeremy Lefroy MP

County Hospital is the first is the country to open an extended reality medical training facility in a new state-of-art training laboratory.

The purpose-built Extended Reality Laboratory (ERL) is set to become part of a new Patient Safety Centre in the Postgraduate Medical and Education Centre at County Hospital, Stafford.

The laboratory was opened on Friday (31 May) by University Hospital North Midlands (UHNM) Chief Executive Tracy Bullock and Jeremy Lefroy MP for Stafford and has been described as the “future of simulation”.

It allows any setting to be projected onto blank walls taking away the need for lengthy set up when providing simulated training in a ward, emergency resus area or pre-hospital environment for example.

Dr Mark Poulson, Associate Medical Director for Postgraduate Medical and Dental Education, said: “We have been using simulation to train healthcare professionals for several years but our new Extended Reality Laboratory takes it to the next level.

"It is the first projection simulation space in the country which allows us to project on all four walls and mimic real world scenarios.

“The simulation space uses the latest technology and creates an environment not used elsewhere before to support our staff as well as undergraduate and postgraduate students to learn new skills and train. 

"Our vision is all about creating excellent doctors for the future.”

A viewing gallery has also been created for those who aren’t directly taking part in the simulation training who can either watch live or watch recorded footage of the scenario training.

Stuart Fisher, of Sim4Med, who has designed the ERL for UHNM, said: “Simulation isn’t new, however, this has been provided in classrooms or virtual wards which can be time consuming to transport and set up.

"We hope to have a digital library of scenes and settings which can be uploaded from an app and projected on the walls, which means you can leave one room and come back into a totally different one.”

The updated and pioneering centre in Stafford, which has been supported by Health Education England, also features a soundproof recording studio which will allow staff to create podcasts, discuss learning and share with a wider audience as well as a digital library.

Professor Russell Smith, Postgraduate Dean and Jane Johnson, Local Director, for HEE have been delighted to support this initiative to improve the education and training of the multi-professional healthcare workforce.

“The response to the ERL has been phenomenal so far with staff and partners amazed by its capabilities. We have people designing courses specifically with how the laboratory can work in mind.

"We are excited about its future potential and leading the future of simulation training,” Dr Poulson said.

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