NHS doctors train using virtual reality to improve care for people with diabetes

The NHS England diabetes team has partnered with Oxford Medical Simulation to train
doctors using virtual reality. Doctors can now practice in virtual reality medical emergencies,
to improve care for patients with diabetes in the real world.

Combining clinical expertise from the NHS, volunteer patient input and world leading virtual
reality software, doctors can now put on virtual reality headsets and practice taking care of
patients as often as they want, without risking lives.

The system is being piloted through Health Education England in a multicentre trial in the
South of England, with development funded by Novo Nordisk. If supported by evidence from
the pilot there are plans for further roll-outs nationwide throughout 2019.

People with Type 1 diabetes have more chance of developing life-threatening complications
when in hospital than outside it. For people with diabetes, extreme highs and lows in blood
sugar can be fatal. These emergencies can be difficult for doctors and nurses to recognise
but can be fatal if not treated quickly. High quality training for frontline staff is vital to
improve patient care in these situations.

“When I was in training we’d learn on the wards. It was called ‘see one, do one, teach one’,
commented Dr Jack Pottle, an NHS clinical entrepreneur and co-founder of Oxford Medical
Simulation, a virtual reality medical training company based in London. “I had never
practiced managing a diabetic emergency until I had to do it in real life. You wouldn’t expect
a pilot to fly a plane full of passengers without having practiced first. Why do we think that’s
acceptable for doctors and nurses?”

Dr Partha Kar, NHS England Clinical Director of Diabetes said: “Embracing technology is at
the heart of the NHS Long Term Plan and training doctors using virtual reality is another
example of modernising the NHS to help improve care for patients with diabetes.”

Individuals who helped to develop this project included Dr Mayank Patel,
Dr Ritwika Mallik and Mr Neil Sweeney.

Margot James, Minister of State for Digital and Creative Industries said: “Oxford Medical
Simulation is a great example of the ground-breaking digital companies that the UK is
constantly producing, I was hugely impressed when I met the company and tried their
technology earlier this year and it’s great that it will now provide training for doctors across
the NHS as they treat patients with diabetes.”

For more information please contact:
Dr Jack Pottle, Oxford Medical Simulation
Tel UK: 07515 281397
Phone international: +44 7515 281397
Email: jack@oxfordmedicalsimulation.com
Website: www.oxfordmedicalsimulation.com

Oxford Medical Simulation delivers virtual reality medical training. Using Oculus Rift VR
headsets, learners can practice in immersive, fully-interactive clinical scenarios as if in real life.
They then receive personalised feedback and can repeat as often as they like to improve
performance. These scenarios deliver consistently excellent, standardised clinical training for
students, doctors, nurses and other healthcare professionals. The focus is on clinical
decision-making under pressure, crisis resource management, team interaction and patient
engagement. Oxford Medical Simulation allows healthcare professionals to learn through
practice, without risking patient lives, to improve patient care.

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