University of Chester responds to NHS training requirements.

The University of Chester stands ready to open its excellent new simulation facilities at its Riverside Campus to assist in preparing nurses and other frontline health and social care staff at a time of exceptional demand due to coronavirus.

By opening these facilities to practice partners in the healthcare sector, the University aims to create a practice and knowledge exchange hub, so that best practice can be rapidly shared. It aims to make the facility available to partners to up-skill staff in clinical techniques that will assist in supporting the NHS workforce during a time of unprecedented need. Social care experts will also be working on projects to mitigate the impacts of isolation and community fragmentation caused by the coronavirus.

Academic staff from the University’s Faculty of Health and Social Care will be providing the training after working closely with local health colleagues to prioritise need.

In response to a request from practice partners at Leighton Hospital, the University of Chester has already offered the use of its classroom and clinical skills facilities, for staff to receive urgent clinical skills training as part of contingency planning.

The simulation suite at Riverside provides a flexible learning space that can be adapted to reflect the individual learning needs of students. The environment includes simulated hospital wards and triage assessment areas.

This hi-tech facility also includes patient simulators that enable learners to refresh their clinical skills within a safe environment ahead of delivering direct patient care. It has been widely reported that the government is seeking to re-recruit staff who left the NHS up to three years ago to provide additional cover during the current Coronavirus pandemic, so in this instance it is envisaged that the simulation facility may provide a supportive environment for induction and updating of clinical skills.

Professor Angela Simpson, Executive Dean of the Faculty of Health and Social Care, said: “The University of Chester has state-of the-art facilities to train students on its health professional courses. It will provide full support to NHS colleagues as we work together during this extremely challenging time."

Heather Barnett, Director of Workforce and Organisational Development at Mid Cheshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: “During the current situation around coronavirus it is great to see so many positive local partnerships coming out to support the work that is going on.

“Hopefully we can strengthen our workforce and response by working in close company with our partners.”

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