New technology allows trainee doctors to practise without touching patients

Ralph Austin, consultant colorectal surgeon based at Colchester Hospital, and Dr James Worsfold with the EndoSim

Ralph Austin, consultant colorectal surgeon based at Colchester Hospital, and Dr James Worsfold with the EndoSim - Credit: ESNEFT

Trainee doctors in Suffolk and north Essex are benefitting from "cutting-edge technology" that allows them to perfect their skills without touching a patient.

A virtual reality simulator, known as an EndoSim, has been acquired by East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Foundation Trust (ESNEFT), which runs Ipswich and Colchester hospitals.

It allows students to practice almost any procedure in a classroom environment and gives them the opportunity to learn how to use a scope safely.

ESNEFT is one of a small number of trusts across the country to invest in the equipment, which was funded by Colchester & Ipswich Hospitals Charity.

It has been installed in the ICENI Centre, ESNEFT’s world-renowned medical education centre at Colchester Hospital.

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Consultant Greg Wynn, lead clinical director of the ICENI Centre and a general and colorectal surgeon, said: "We are delighted that ESNEFT is remaining at the forefront of innovation by becoming one of the only trusts in the country to have invested in this cutting-edge technology.

"The EndoSim allows us to take a complete novice and give them they skills they need to start working safely on patients. Before we had this specialist equipment, the first time a trainee touched a scope would be when they were putting it into a patient.

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"The technology uses metrics which will allow us to measure the student’s progress objectively while also helping them to map their own development until they are at the skill level required.

"As far as I am aware, this is the first piece of kit which can take someone from having zero experience to being sufficiently competent to safely scope a patient without going anywhere near a clinical environment. It is incredibly exciting and will make a real difference to the training our clinicians receive."

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