Students in the College of Health and Life Sciences at Aston University are to benefit from a major £4.8 million investment in new facilities funded by the Office for Students to further expand and develop the University’s suite of state-of-the-art healthcare simulation and laboratory facilities.
Students studying medicine, pharmacy, nursing, optometry and audiology will benefit from capital funding to support new equipment and facilities over the next three years. This latest funding follows on from an initial £1.5 million investment into healthcare simulation facilities on the University campus which were officially opened in December 2022 by Paulette Hamilton MP.
The funds will be used to create and equip a simulated hospital ward facility and a simulated patient home environment for healthcare students. Nursing Studies is now recruiting for its first intake of students in September 2023. Pharmacy students will also gain a new wet lab and asepsis suite.
The optometry simulation suite, unique in Europe, will be further enhanced with augmented reality simulation, allowing students to learn and refine their skills in a realistic instrument environment, with simulated patients with a wide range of eye conditions. Investment in other additional optometry equipment, including an additional optomap retinal screening device, will also allow the eye clinic to triage patients for the eye hospital, reducing patient waiting times, particularly in assessing conditions such as macular degeneration.
Aston Medical School will be equipped with the creation of an immersive room and an anatomy and physiology teaching facility.
Professor Liz Moores, Deputy Dean of the College of Health and Life Sciences, said:
“The College of Health and Life Sciences is thrilled with this investment. The enhanced facilities will help to support many of our healthcare students, including those now applying for our new nursing degree. It will also support us with the introduction of the new pharmacy and optometry education standards, providing a step change in our ability to simulate a wide range of clinical scenarios.”
Professor Aleks Subic, Vice-Chancellor at Aston University, said:
“This strategic investment will ensure that our students are learning in the very best facilities with access to state-of-the-art digital technologies. The new facilities will enable us to prepare students fully for future careers that are strategically important to the healthcare sector and society. This is about bringing Industry 4.0 to healthcare.”
Professor James Wolffsohn, Head of the School of Optometry and Audiology at Aston University, said:
“With the huge hospital waiting lists, particularly post-COVID, with those in ophthalmology being the highest, it is essential that primary care can take more of the patient load to allow hospitals to focus on surgery and complex cases. This investment will allow us to better train our optometry and audiology students to be able to triage patients and to manage more conditions within community practice.”
Jiteen Ahmed, Head of Technical Services in the College of Health and Life Sciences at Aston University, said:
“It is fantastic to see such a large investment in our facilities to support many of our healthcare programmes. Technical staff at Aston University will be playing a key role in the design of the facilities, ensuring that we provide the most up to date and innovative technologies to meet the needs of the programmes.
“I am very excited to see the involvement of technical staff as they will play a significant role in ensuring our students meet key learning outcomes in our facilities at the University.”