New £8m healthcare education centre will help modernise and grow the Essex healthcare workforce of the future

Published: 15 May 2006 at 10:20

A turf-cutting event is to take place at Anglia Ruskin University’s Rivermead campus in Chelmsford on Monday 15 May to launch the start of construction of state-of-the-art facilities which are set to greatly improve the facilities that support the way that health and social care professionals are educated in Essex.

The major £8 million development will lead to better facilities and new ways of delivering education and training which will bring benefits to students, staff and patients.

Work on preparing the ground for the new Institute of Health and Social Care (IHSC) building will be undertaken by Anglia Ruskin University’s Vice Chancellor Professor David Tidmarsh and the Chief Executive of the Workforce Development Confederation, Stephen Welfare as they take to the controls of a mechanical digger during the ‘ceremonial’ ground breaking event.

The new centre should be up and running for the start of the academic year 2007.

A joint venture between Anglia Ruskin University’s IHSC and the Essex Workforce Development Confederation, the five storey building will offer dedicated clinical space on two floors.

The University’s Dean at the Institute, Professor Mike Cook, said:

 “This new building is excellent news for the people of Essex. What we will have is a thoroughly modern environment in which health and social care staff can train that reflects the world outside and the increasingly technologically-advanced NHS buildings that people are likely to be working in. This new style of healthcare education will ensure that newly qualified healthcare professionals will be work-ready from the first day they start in employment.”

“Essex needs this facility to help to train the health and social care professionals of the future.”

The WDC’s Director of Education and Development, Michelle Gallifent, added:

“This is more than just a building – it’s a totally different way of thinking about education and this is just what Essex needs. It is a fact that over 45% of the current nursing population of Essex will retire within the next five years and so we need to encourage new recruits to the sector.”

“Coupled with this, the predications are that there will be major growth in Essex as a result of the many regeneration projects planned for the county and we need to ensure a ready supply of appropriately educated and trained health and social care professionals to ensure the best care for this population growth.”

Professor Cook continued:

“With the help of the WDC, we at the Institute will be helping with the push towards radical change in termsof education and training preparation for NHS staff. We will be focusing on inter-professional activities at the new centre that will encourage the various professionals – including those from social work and allied health professionals – to work together. What we want to do is to train staff to better understand their roles and boundaries in order that we can work towards a seamless service provision for the future.”

The building will have simulated clinical environments, giving students the opportunity to get hands-on experience in a variety of settings. It will be available, not just for nursing students, but for other staff groups including social workers, podiatrists, physiotherapists and occupational therapists.

As part of the new training programmes, it is planned that actors will be used as patients. Students will be videoed carrying out assessments and then given immediate feedback. As well as bed areas, there will also be the latest technology available so students can handle the equipment to get a firm understanding of it without being watched by patients to lessen anxiety and demystify the various training processes.

It is not just wards and facilities at acute trusts that will be replicated – there will also be clinical settings to represent primary care including care out in the community. One of the environments to be set up will be a much tighter space to represent what it will be like to visit someone in their home.

As well as bed spaces, there will also be an intensive care setting and a radiography suite as well as a communication classroom where people can learn and improve their face-to-face skills.

Students will be able to use the facilities at the new building right up to their registration and beyond, with post registration students able to hone their skills.

With the University’s sports centre one side and Student Union the other, there is no doubt that the flagship development will be the centre of attention.

Mike concluded:

“There is such a high level of commitment to health and social care education at Anglia Ruskin University and with the start of work on this new building there is a real buzz about the campus. The IHSC is set to go from strength to strength as it helps to deliver what Essex needs – a top quality, modern health and social care workforce for the future.”

The WDC has signed a five-year rolling contract with Anglia Ruskin University to continue delivering pre-registration training, and this will ensure the development of the new facilities. It has also been working closely with all the Trusts across the county to ensure that they have had input into the designs and are backing the new building.