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New surgical and anaesthesia training centre opens

Media Release

For immediate Release

6 June 2005

New surgical and anaesthesia training centre opens

A new training centre has been opened as a joint venture between The University of Auckland and MercyAscot Hospital. It is housed in a purpose-built facility at MercyAscot in Epsom and has been called the “Advanced Clinical Skills Centre”.

A substantial grant from the Rawhiti Trust enabled the new centre’s development.

The Advanced Clinical Skills Centre has been in use since January, and will be officially opened by University of Auckland Chancellor Mr Hugh Fletcher on Friday June 10th, at 4pm.

The Centre caters for health professionals, ranging from student doctors to specialists, general practitioners, midwives and paramedics.

It provides state of the art simulated training where participants can practice skills ranging from closing wounds to complex key-hole surgery using laparoscopes, and from basic resuscitation to advanced management of complex anaesthetic crises.

It has a large theatre area, which can model complex anaesthesia and surgical situations with a computerized dummy known as Sim-Man. This can be anaesthetized and used for training teams to deal with a wide range of situations in the operating room or ward environment.

Founder of the Centre, Professor John Windsor, Head of the University’s Department of Surgery, says training centres have become a necessary and important part of medical education over the last decade.

The new Centre replaces a smaller surgical training facility based at Greenlane Hospital that he says was outgrown five years ago.

“The rapid advance in surgery techniques has meant surgeons must continue to acquire new skills throughout their career,” Professor Windsor says. “In addition trainees no longer have as much patient contact because of the restriction in work hours. And it is now accepted that trainees should acquire certain key skills before having patient contact.

“In order to meet these challenges it is necessary to develop new approaches to clinical training. We need realistic training technologies that can provide the opportunity to acquire clinical skills.

“Furthermore complications in medical practice are of significant concern to patients, and can be a major cost to the health system. So the better trained our medical professionals, the less likely these are to happen,” he says.

Head of the University’s Department of Anaesthetics and co-director of the new Centre, Professor Alan Merry says it provides better teaching and research facilities.

“Our team (which includes the Wellington National Patient Simulation Centre) is already recognized internationally for our research into the use of simulation to improve patient safety.

“Now we can work in a real operating room, and our students feel as though it is the real thing. We use a very high–tech dummy, which emulates the human body. It can breathe, has blood pressure, responds to drugs and can die.”

The Advanced Clinical Skills Centre is seeking further funding to purchase simulation equipment, including an additional “Sim-Man” dummy to ensure the best training facilities possible for health professionals.


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