Hands up for Health is a new approach to learning about health, science and health-related careers for young people in Lambeth and Southwark. Funded for three years by Guy's and St Thomas' Charity, the project was conceived by Dr Peter Jaye, director of simulation, and developed at our simulation and interactive learning centre (SaIL) by Dr Beth Thomas, outreach programme manager.
Locally, deprivation has a significant effect on many residents’ lives. Rates of ill health are worse than the national average. The number of 16- to 18-year-olds not in education, employment or training (NEETs) in the two boroughs is above both London and national averages. Hands up for Health addresses these facts in the work children do with us. We collaborate with local education services to make sure that the curriculum-based, practical learning we offer us is really relevant to local youths.
The learning experience
Young learners can experience the adrenaline rush of giving a manikin patient life-saving care. Through Hands up for Health, local children and young people can gain a fresh insight into life in a hospital - straight from doctors, nurses, paramedics, therapists and other healthcare professionals.
“The centre allows people to learn in an environment that is completely safe for patients and gets children directly involved in health care, encouraging them to consider it as a career,” says centre director Dr Peter Jaye. “Crucially, it also encourages them to consider the impact their life choices have on their own and others' health.”
The centre also houses part-body manikins that are used to introduce children to basic life support skills, first aid, blood-taking and suturing (stitching wounds). Young people can also try out surgical simulators, which give them a sense of what it’s like to perform laparoscopic operations (keyhole surgery).
About the SaIL centre
Our hi-tech SaiL centre opened in 2010 to train NHS staff and students. It’s a safe environment in which to practise skills before facing real medical emergencies - with real patients. Stars of the centre are the computer-controlled, life-size manikins that breathe, talk, have audible heart and lung sounds, measurable pulse rates, and can even be given drugs and fluids.
We have a mock, six-bed hospital ward, a consultation room and an operating theatre, which can also be used as an emergency room or intensive care unit.