Presenter, broadcaster and Strictly Come Dancing contestant extraordinaire, Jeremy Vine, declared the Elena Power Simulation Centre at Epsom Hospital officially open on Monday (14 March).
Jeremy joined Chief Executive Daniel Elkeles and trust lead for simulation Dr Jenny Blair for a tour of the state-of-the-art department, and watched as the team demonstrated some of the training scenarios they go through with cutting-edge simulation manikins. The manikins represent different ages and genders (including a pregnant woman, three adults, a young child and a baby) and in order to be as lifelike as possible, have a pulse, can mimic talking, crying, sweating, and even urinating.
The centre allows doctors and nurses from all disciplines to train for a number of situations in a safe way – from caring for a patient who deteriorates suddenly, to delivering bad news in a patient’s home – with a full feedback and review session from senior staff.
Kicking off the official opening ceremony, Jeremy said: “I must start by passing on greetings from my mum, because some time ago, on 17 May 1965, I was born at this very hospital. It’s a thrill for me to be here today, and to see the hospital thriving.
“I can see that the Elena Power Simulation Centre has been created with the future in mind, and the training that doctors and nurses receive here will allow your staff to do not just the urgent things – like stabilising an emergency patient – but the important things too, such as communicating with them and their families in a compassionate way.”
During the official opening, tributes were paid to Elena Power – the former Medical Education Manager at Epsom and St Helier hospitals – who sadly passed away in 2014, before she could see the plans for the simulation centre completed. Dr Shanthi Paramothayan, the trust’s Associate Medical Director for Medical Education, said: “Elena was a very talented and knowledgeable member of staff, whose impact was felt immediately. She was an asset to us, and truly set us on our way to developing this centre.”
Jeremy added: “When you come to the centre of a hospital like this, you can truly feel its beating heart. It is obvious to me that you are dedicated to excellence, and within that is a sense of family – that’s evidenced here in your tributes to Elena.”
It was then time for Jeremy to unveil the commemorative plaque, before posing for photos with staff and members of Elena’s family, and enjoying refreshments.
Chief Executive Daniel Elkeles said: “We would like to say a huge thank you to Jeremy for taking the time to come and see us today. It was a fantastic way to celebrate all of the hard work that has gone into creating the Elena Power Simulation Centre, and I know that all of the staff involved are delighted that it is now officially open.”
Dr Jenny Blair said: “We are all incredibly proud of our new simulation centre, and so it was an absolute privilege to show Jeremy Vine around and demonstrate just some of the wonderful training we can do. But the buildings and equipment of the centre can only take us so far – we have a wonderful team here, and I think we are all very excited about continuing to learn and grow together into the future.”