Reporter 428, 30 November 1998

Old hands see how new blood learns

A married couple who trained as doctors at the School of Medicine more than fifty years ago returned earlier this month to open its new clinical skills learning centre. Ken and Marguerite Walls, who live in Adel, Leeds, saw how medical training has transformed since they graduated in the 1940s.

Mannikins and models in the new centre allow over 100 students at any one time to take blood samples, deliver infusions, rescue choke victims, check for cancers, and practice other clinical skills. "Tomorrow's doctors can make their mistakes here in absolute safety and will leave as confident and skilful doctors," said centre co-ordinator Patsy Stark.

The Medical School has pioneered the development of clinical skills learning centres, which provide students with a less painful training than Dr Ken Walls remembers. "We had to examine and take blood from each other," he said. "We had a rag doll that we could pass through a bony pelvis to simulate birth and that was about it, certainly nothing this imaginative or impressive."

The new centre, which also includes computer and seminar facilities, has been developed to meet recommendations about skills and attitudes from the General Medical Council's 1993 'Tomorrow's Doctors' report.

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