Bury St Edmunds: New £500k hospital unit to help train next generation of doctors

West Suffolk Hospital

West Suffolk Hospital

Building work has started on a new £500,000 clinical skills unit at West Suffolk Hospital.

The facility, which is being built next to the hospital’s education centre, will help to ensure that the next generation of doctors receives the best possible training.

It has been jointly funded by the hospital and the Clinical School of Medicine at the University of Cambridge, and will cater for up to 70 students at any one time.

The unit, which should be in use by early next year, will provide a practical laboratory where medical students can learn skills such as taking blood samples, inserting catheters and drips and stitching wounds.

It will also be used to teach advanced skills, such as inserting chest drains, and for refresher courses to keep junior doctors and other staff up to date with the latest developments in medicine. A £27,000 donation from the Friends of West Suffolk Hospital has been used to purchase an advanced computerised patient simulator. This “SimMan” will give students hands-on experience of a variety of illnesses, allowing them to test their knowledge and clinical decision-making skills in a safe environment under the guidance of an experienced tutor.

Dr John Clark, consultant physician and lead for medical student training, said: “It is important that our medical students and future doctors receive the best possible training.

“The new building will be almost double the size of our existing unit, and will give us much more flexibility to provide training for medical students and refresher courses for nursing staff and junior doctors.

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“This will help make sure they keep up to date with the very latest in medical developments.

“We are very grateful to the Friends for their donation towards the simulator. This state-of-the-art piece of equipment will help us mimic emergency situations so that our students can practice how to manage these scenarios.”

Grant Greetham, chairman of the Friends, said: “We are delighted to be able to assist with keeping the hospital and it’s staff bang up to date with the latest technology, which is not only good for the trust but for patients too.”