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Clinical training suite enhancement plans receive funding

A clinical training facility mimicking a real hospital ward will be created at the University of Reading after funding was secured to provide vital experience for students and NHS staff.

A £2.63m grant from the Office for Students will expand the existing facility in JJ Thomson building on Whiteknights campus to simulate a four-bed hospital ward, including equipment and video link facilities and consultation spaces.

The new Clinical Training and Education Suite has been designed by the University in consultation with the Royal Berkshire NHS Foundation Trust (RBFT).

It will address the urgent need for additional medical and healthcare training spaces and growing demand for the University’s Physician Associate programmes.

Professor Orla Kennedy, Strategic Partnership Director for Health at the University of Reading, said: “This training suite will help address the current shortage of medical professionals in the NHS by giving trainees and students insight into what it’s like to work in a real hospital ward.

“We have seen that there is growing demand among students for health and medical science courses, and this is an innovative way of ensuring they can start treating patients straight away when they begin work, alongside providing opportunities for continuing professional development of NHS staff.”

Student numbers on the undergraduate MPAS Physician Associate programme have grown five-fold to 50 enrolments in 2022/23 since its launch in 2020/21, while the Pharmacy, medical sciences and Master’s programmes continues to recruit strongly.

This flagship simulated environment will also meet the increased accreditation demands on Pharmacy courses, producing graduates who are immediately able to prescribe medication to patients thanks to the experience this new teaching facility will offer in addition to on-the-job placements.

It will also enable the University to expand its health and medical sciences teaching programmes and increase the number of students from diverse backgrounds.

Opportunities to support the education and training of clinicians and all allied healthcare professionals is an important element in the University and planned approach to this space and is why we have worked closely with RBFT in its development.

With both institutions benefiting from the space, the new facility will provide students with the opportunity to better prepare for clinical placements and future practice within a safe environment. It will enable the development of more extensive inter-professional education and support the skills development of RBFT employees and colleagues within the wider community

The suite strengthens the University’s commitment to drive innovation through partnerships with NHS trusts and support the future workforce needs of the NHS, and help deliver a workforce that is skilled to work in new ways as services and populations change.

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