Published on 20/12/2021
Patient on endotracheal tube


  • Acute care medical simulation room with high fidelity manikins for medical and pharmacy students to practise real life scenarios
  • Augmented reality simulation slit lamp biomicroscopes for optometry students to experience a wide variety of clinical eye conditions 
  • Single task trainer classroom for college students to ‘practise on plastic’ before they try the real thing
  • Facilities to be used by medical, optometry and pharmacy students from 2022

New clinical simulation facilities for medical, pharmacy and optometry students are set to open in 2022, including an ocular simulation unit facility which will be the only one in Europe, as part of further investment in clinical facilities in the College of Health and Life Sciences at Aston University. 

The facilities are part funded by the Office for Students which awarded the University £806,226 to set up a ‘high fidelity’ simulation A&E room with further expenditure by Aston  University on an ocular simulation unit.

Aston Medical and Pharmacy School students will be able to practise in emergency settings using high quality manikins where they will simulate treating patients for acute conditions such as a heart attack or learning how to intubate a patient onto a ventilator.

The high-fidelity acute care simulation room will be equipped with recording facilities, a debrief room and control room. The funding will allow for the purchase of other training equipment such as a hospital grade bed and single task trainer simulation equipment. For example, male and female catheterisation models, pelvic and rectal trainers, venepuncture arms, breast trainers and abdominal trainers.     

Professor Liz Moores, deputy dean of the College of Health and Life Sciences, said: 
“We are really excited to have the support from both the Office for Students and Aston University in building these state-of-the-art facilities for our students and can’t wait to start using them. 

“The acute care simulation room will allow us to simulate a variety of emergency resuscitation scenarios that are very difficult to teach in real life situations, such as heart attacks, acute breathlessness and severe allergic reaction and will be of great value in training students of medicine and pharmacy.”

Students in the School of Optometry will also be equipped with simulation facilities to carry out treatment on patients. 

Professor James Wolffsohn, head of the School of Optometry said: “The ocular simulation facility at Aston University will be unique in Europe, allowing students to refine their skills in examining the health of the front and back of the eyes and to experience a wide range of eye disease. 

“One of the simulators even allows them to utilise their smartphone to practice at home. They can gain direct feedback and be assessed by the simulators, allowing more flexible, diverse and intensive learning than can be achieved with clinical practice placements.”     

It is hoped these facilities will help plug some of the gaps in clinical placements that are currently affecting students since the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result of the pandemic, alternative ways are being explored to gain high quality authentic ‘clinical’ experiences, whilst not exposing patients, staff, or students, to risk.

The health crisis has also increased pressure on the NHS creating a need for alternative but appropriate training facilities, to ensure that students are fully prepared for the medical profession.

The simulation facilities are due to be open in time for the September 2022 intake of students. 

For more information about studying in the College of Health and Life Sciences please visit our website. 

Notes to editors

About the Office for Students 

The Office for Students is the independent regulator for higher education in England. Our aim is to ensure that every student, whatever their background, has a fulfilling experience of higher education that enriches their lives and careers. 

About Aston University

Founded in 1895 and a University since 1966, Aston is a long established university led by its three main beneficiaries – students, business and the professions, and our region and society. Aston University is located in Birmingham and at the heart of a vibrant city and the campus houses all the university’s academic, social and accommodation facilities for our students. Saskia Hansen is the interim Vice-Chancellor & Chief Executive.

Aston University was named University of the Year 2020 by The Guardian and the University’s full time MBA programme has been ranked in the top 100 in the world in the Economist MBA 2021 ranking. The Aston MBA has been ranked 12th in the UK and 85th in the world. 

For media inquiries in relation to this release, contact Rebecca Hume, Press and Communications Manager, on (+44)7557 745416 or email: 

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Sue Smith, Head of Press and Communications
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Nicola Jones, Press and Communications Manager
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Sam Cook, Press and Communications Manager
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Rebecca Hume, Press and Communications Manager
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