University unveils multimillion-pound facilities for healthcare students

Healthcare students at Birmingham City University (BCU) are set to benefit from new and upgraded teaching facilities following an investment of nearly £5m.

The Professor Carol Doyle Simulation Centre is based at the University’s Seacole Building on its City South Campus in Edgbaston.

The new and upgraded facilities will be fundamental to training the next generation of healthcare professionals.

A £1.6m investment from Health Education England (HEE) has helped to fund a new Endoscopy Academy and an Imaging Hub in the centre, enabling healthcare students to train in a multi-disciplinary environment with state-of-the-art equipment.

A further £2m investment from the Office for Students, alongside a £1.5m investment from the university, has seen digital infrastructure at the Seacole Building revamped with 5G technology – reflecting the increased use of simulation and virtual reality in healthcare treatment and training.

The investment has also seen the creation of a new simulated resuscitation room, as well as upgrades to existing teaching facilities, which include a simulated operating theatre and hospital wards, a midwifery suite with a fully equipped birthing room, a simulated home environment, a fully functional radiography suite and a 3D imaging diagnostic suite.

The centre has been named in honour of Professor Doyle, the head of BCU’s School of Nursing and Midwifery until she retired in 2022.

Professor Ian Blair, pro-vice chancellor of the university and executive dean of its Faculty of Health, Education and Life Sciences, said: “We are delighted with this major investment, which has enabled us to further extend and enhance our facilities to provide our students with world-class education and training.

“As one of the largest trainers of healthcare workers in the UK, it is crucial that we contribute to the recruitment and retention of nurses, midwives, allied health and life sciences professionals. Our new and upgraded facilities will help us to do just that, offering an unrivalled experience for our healthcare students.

“We’re proud to be playing our part in shaping our future public services workforce; powering the frontline and offering the next generation of healthcare workers excellent facilities, education and training.

“On behalf our Faculty of Health, Education and Life Sciences community, I want to extend our gratitude to Health Education England and the Office for Students for their significant investments.”

Carol Love-Mecrow, regional head of nursing and midwifery at HEE in the Midlands, said: “We’ve worked with Birmingham City University on a number of successful projects to improve the environment for our learners, including these upgraded teaching facilities. We look forward to continuing to partner with the university, and other higher education institutions, for the benefit of healthcare students in the region.”

Nolan Smith, director of resources and finance at the Office for Students (OfS), said: “Good facilities, modern buildings and access to the right equipment are important elements to students having a positive experience of higher education. This was a very competitive funding round, with generally high quality applications across the board.

“The projects we are funding provide good value for money for the taxpayer, and will make a demonstrable and positive difference to students now and into the future. The projects will help with strategically important subjects which are expensive to deliver, as well as offering a boost to local and regional economies.”

Birmingham City University has also been awarded more than £200,000 by Health Education England to refurbish the home environment space at the centre, which is used to provide practical, hands-on training to a range of future frontline workers, including disability and sensory nurses, social workers and midwives.

The announcement comes as the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) considers plans that will see nursing students deliver 600 hours of the required 2,300 practice learning hours in simulation facilities, rather than solely in NHS Trusts.

BCU’s Seacole Building, named after Mary Seacole, a Jamaican nurse who cared for British Soldiers in the Crimean War, was opened in 2006 following a £30m refurbishment.

Click here to sign up to receive our new South West business news...