New simulation centre a big boost for patient safety

10 October 2011

Blinking, breathing, heart-beating manikins are only part of New Zealand’s most advanced facility for simulation training in health at The University of Auckland.


The new simulation centre will help prepare health workers for their future careers, enable qualified professionals keep up to date while practising resuscitation and operating theatre teamwork and will significantly aid research into improving patient care.

The Minister of Health, the Hon Tony Ryall officially opened the Simulation Centre for Patient Safety at the Tamaki Innovation Campus on the 5th of October.

Visitors could have been excused for mistaking the Simulation Centre, with its well-equipped operating room and ward areas complete with trainees in scrubs and holding surgical equipment, for a genuine hospital theatre. The purpose-built centre is the brainchild of Professor Alan Merry, Head of the School of Medicine and recognised globally for his research into quality and safety in healthcare.

The centre will help meet the growing demand for teaching using simulation techniques with a strong focus on teamwork, including scenario training in debriefing, role play using actors, and employing skills trainers for procedures such as inserting intravenous drips. The world-class facility has been designed by a Department of Anaesthesiology team experienced in integrating simulation into adult education.

“Drivers for the centre include meeting the public’s expectations that healthcare providers acquire basic competencies before trying out their skills on patients — generally patients don’t expect to be practised on any more,” says Dr Jane Torrie, a practising anaesthetist and the Director of Simulation-Based Education in the Department of Anaesthesiology.
“The specialist site and hub of expertise also enables potentially dangerous or uncommon procedures to be taught, and allows all students to gain the same experiences without waiting for unusual situations to hit them in the real world. In addition, simulation training can relieve the pressures of clinical placement for our growing workforce and assist in preparing people for the complexity of real world situations.”

“The vision,” says Dr Torrie, “has been to create an inclusive facility which promotes teamwork, a critical safety element of modern healthcare, and to create an environment in which we can translate research directly into safer and more efficient patient care.

“It is an outstanding resource and will strengthen a safety culture in New Zealand’s current and future healthcare systems.”

The Simulation Centre for Patient Safety complements existing sites at The University of Auckland for simulation teaching of practical healthcare skills at the Clinical Skills Centre in Grafton and the Advanced Clinical Skills Centre on the Mercy Hospital site.

Megan Fowlie, Communications Adviser
P: +64 9 373 7599 extn 83257
M: +64 (0)21 802 143