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University of Worcester Unveils 'Brilliantly Innovative' Skills Bus

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The Chief Executive of Health Education England, Ian Cumming, has given his approval to the innovative initiative put in place by the University of Worcester, which will see clinical training delivered locally to community nurses using a mobile classroom

Mr Cumming and the organisation’s Chairman, Sir Keith S Pearson, were among key health education figures to be shown around the University's Mobile Laboratory – the only mobile clinical skills bus in the Midlands - when it visited the headquarters of Health Education West Midlands in Birmingham last week.

The University of Worcester's Head of Health and Society, Dr Jan Quallington, along with Robert Dudley, Head of Nursing and Paramedic Science, and Jane Perry, Head of Applied Professional Studies, showed Mr Cumming around the specially-adapted vehicle, which has recently been awarded a £180,000 grant to deliver training in rural areas.

Mr Cumming said: "It's a fantastic initiative - and one which I believe is fairly unique for England.

 "The fact that we can take such a facility to busy people and train them close to their place of work rather than asking them to travel to attend a course means we can reach far more people, and further enhance their skill set. It's an excellent project."

The bus has been mocked up to replicate a clinical environment - with state-of-the-art University equipment used to create real-life medical scenarios - and can accommodate up to twelve nurses at any one time.

Professor Janice Stevens CBE, Managing Director of Health Education West Midlands, whose organisation recently awarded the funding to allow the project to provide clinical training, adds: “We are extremely pleased to contribute to funding this brilliantly innovative new skills bus.

“Working with our partners across Arden, Herefordshire and Worcestershire, it is vitally important that we offer access to our rural communities to ensure that we tap into the skills which residents in these areas possess, and which can benefit the NHS.

”It is only by working closely with our partner Trusts and the Local Education Training Council for Arden, Herefordshire and Worcestershire that we are able to understand their needs and discover and realise opportunities like this one.”

Dr Quallington says: “The Mobile Laboratory is a fantastic addition to our facilities, and we are delighted that it will be used to provide such vital training to medical professionals throughout our region.

“The objective of this project is to upskill practice and community nurses in acute care skills, so we are able to minimise and prevent hospital admissions and aid the prompt discharge of patients who are admitted to hospital.”

She adds: “Clinical tutors will provide the teaching, and they will be supported by nurse academics from the University of Worcester. This means we can use our educational expertise to ensure that the skills taught are based on the best available evidence.”