Pioneering Living Lab set to revive regional patient care

Pioneering Living Lab set to revive regional patient care

Published on 21 October 2016

England's leading nurse, Professor Lisa Bayliss-Pratt, today launched a pioneering new University facility that will change how healthcare professionals are trained and how health partners collaborate to improve patient care in the North East region.

Prof Lisa Bayliss-Pratt, the Chief Nurse of Health Education England returned to the University of Sunderland to open the Living Lab, the final element of its £5.5m Sciences Phase II re-development.

Students of the Faculty of Health Sciences and Wellbeing, including Adult Nursing Practice BSc (Hons)Biomedical, Pharmacy and Paramedic Practice can benefit from teaching and learning in the Living Lab, using the most advanced healthcare-industry simulation equipment, in interactive spaces and realistic settings.

And for the city and region as a whole, this means a new generation of highly trained healthcare providers, including nurses and paramedics, graduating with the skills, knowledge and experience to improve the quality and capacity of patient care in the North East.

The Sciences Complex Phase II has been generously supported by a £2.65m contribution from the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) STEM Teaching Capital Fund. In addition a £300,000 grant from the Garfield Weston Foundation has been invested in a high-tech simulation suite, the likes of which are not available anywhere else in the region, and certainly not at another University.

The Living Lab reflects the various settings of care provision and is made up of several specialist laboratories, from a mock hospital ward, pharmacy dispensary and dementia friendly patient's flat to a hi-fidelity simulation suite and an updated Point of Care Centre, which delivers education and training to those involved in patient care using the latest technology to enhance treatment and diagnosis for patients

Professor Lisa Bayliss Pratt, Chief Nurse of Health Education England, said: "I have not experienced anything quite so exciting as the University of Sunderland's nursing and care ambitions for the people of Sunderland and beyond. Sunderland is breaking new ground.

"It is crucial that we never tire of our collective mission to ensure that we have the right people, in the right place, at the right time, with the right values to care compassionately, safely and effectively for the patients, carers and citizens of our local communities.

"In the new Living Lab ideas can flourish into ground-breaking new ways of thinking and practicing. I'm very excited to be here to see the facility completed and honoured to open it. I think that the University of Sunderland's practical approach to tackling the healthcare challenges we face is inspiring, it has raised the bar for Higher Education providers across the country."

With its interactive learning facilities based on the patient journey the Living lab is a unique, purpose-built environment that uses advanced hi-fidelity simulation equipment to deliver integrated working between university researchers, staff, students and healthcare and life sciences partners.

University of Sunderland's Vice-Chancellor, Shirley Atkinson, commented: "Today's launch presents a real cause for celebration as we see manifest what began as an idea - a teaching space that mirrors the real world, where healthcare students can learn the skills they need, to provide the high-level care that patients need, in our region and beyond.

"That we are standing here today, surrounded by realistic settings and specialist equipment is thanks not only to the diligence of our University staff, but also to our funding partners and our strong collaboration with our health partners who have been with us throughout the development of the Living Lab and I sincerely hope they too will see this as a space for them too.

"This University is proud of the role it plays in supporting the society, economy and culture of Sunderland and the region. I often talk of us being an anchor institution and the impact of our graduates, our research and our collaborations - today I think perfectly demonstrates that we are delivering on our plans and ambitions."

Amanda Wilcox, HEFCE Regional Consultant, said: 'I'm delighted that HEFCE STEM funding has been used to develop the University of Sunderland's Living Lab. This new facility will make a significant contribution to healthcare training in the North East. The Lab will host state of the art facilities for students and graduates to enhance hands on training in a range of key professions'.

Developed in collaboration with City Hospitals Sunderland and other Regional Trust partners, plus Sunderland's Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), and working in partnership with City Hospitals Sunderland, facilities in the Living Lab will provide staff, students and health professionals with the skills to meet the future challenges of healthcare.

Mr Kim Hinshaw, Consultant Obstetrician & Gynaecologist at City Hospitals Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust, said: "The multi-million pound investment in the Sciences Complex Phase II offers exciting opportunities for clinical staff and researchers at City Hospitals Sunderland to work closely with the University of Sunderland.

"This will allow closer collaboration in several areas of 'cutting edge' research. The new Hi-Technology Simulation Suite will enhance clinical training of our staff. This will directly benefit our Sunderland population, allowing us to offer the highest quality, safe clinical care.”

Professor Tony Alabaster, Dean of Faculty of Health Sciences and Wellbeing, concluded: "I'm very proud of what we have achieved, the team is absolutely committed to improving patient care in Sunderland and the region, and they know that begins with improving the quality of teaching. Our Living Lab is unlike anything you will find anywhere else, and it needs to be. The move to patient-centred and precision medicine, integrated and community-based healthcare is having a profound impact on the skills our healthcare providers need. We want to ensure our nursing, paramedic and pharmacy graduates are well equipped with the skills to meet those challenges throughout their academic career and beyond."