UK’s first Ultrasound Training Academy launches at Central Middlesex Hospital

Anne Marie–Scott, trainee sonographer showing senior staff and manager how it works at the Ultrasoun

Anne MarieScott, trainee sonographer showing senior staff and manager how it works at the Ultrasound Academy - Credit: Archant

The first ultrasound training scheme in the UK has been launched at Central Middlesex Hospital to deal with the short supply of sonographers.

Roaya Zuhair, trainee sonographer

Roaya Zuhair, trainee sonographer - Credit: Archant

The London North West University Healthcare (LNWUH) NHS Trust has launched a new, state of the art Ultrasound Training Academy at the hospital in Acton Lane, Park Royal.

Radiology manager Tanuja Khiroya suggested an academy be opened to meet the rising demand for sonographers, who perform the scans which are used to check for everything from a baby’s wellbeing in pregnancy to looking for signs of disease.

She said: “We know that there’s a national shortage of sonographers. The Academy gives us a training environment in the hospital setting, instead of what we do currently, which is to teach our trainees during our regular, busy examination sessions.”

With support from Health Education England, and working with technology partners Samsung and MIS, the Academy saw its first trainees come through its doors last month.

Its two dedicated teaching examination rooms and simulator facility provide a environment for training the students who undertake an eighteen month course, with academic teaching provided by City University.

Haroon Qarib, lead tutor, said the simulation technology used allows “better hands-on practical training”.

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He added: “Our simulator represents a step-change in training, allowing students to recognise anatomy and practice ultrasound methodology before meeting patients.

“This doesn’t just help the students’ skills, but boosts their confidence when they see patients.”

When students do come to perform exams on real life patients, the Academy makes sure that they have long enough with each patient by providing fully supervised examination sessions.

“Our longer ultrasound examination time-slots mean that students can really put their learning into practice,” he said.

As not all the students at the Academy are LNWUH staff the Trust is working with other NHS organisations to help train staff from across the region.

Chief Executive Dame Jacqueline Docherty said:: “We are delighted to be able to support this first cohort of trainees and to wish them the very best in their studies. I was really impressed with the skill and aptitude they already have. It is phenomenal to watch them at work because it isn’t easy. It takes time, effort, application and study to develop these skills, and I think we shouldn’t underestimate this.”