NHS medical device training goes online
22 February 2009
A ground-breaking project is being launched in the UK to create a
National Health Service (NHS) e-learning platform for medical devices,
including a library of both generic and detailed training.
The NHS Training Hub for Operative Technologies in Healthcare (THOTH)
has secured almost half a million pounds over two years from the
Department of Health to get the project off the ground and the first
online training is scheduled to go live in the Spring.
A number of device types will be selected initially, with the
criteria focusing on those which are patient safety-critical, in
extensive use throughout the NHS and technically complex. Eventually the
categories will be extended and will cover all major devices, from
defibrillators and infusion pumps to ECGs, diathermy equipment and
pressure-relieving patient beds.
The aim is to ensure staff are trained in new or different medical
devices and that information is easily accessible through a secure NHS
network, hosted by e-Learning for Healthcare. Generic information on the
device category will be included as well as detailed guidance from the
manufacturer and, where appropriate, supported with explanatory graphics
The e-learning platform will link up with the electronic staff record
and details of training undertaken will be lodged on individual records.
Tim Rubidge, THOTH operations director, said: “Given that a key aim
for the NHS is to ensure that the workforce is trained to the highest
standards, the medical device e-leaning platform will give easy, 24/7
access to a library of initial training on specific medical devices.
“All manufacturers have an interest in high-quality training on their
equipment and this initiative provides an opportunity to enhance their
partnership with the NHS.
“Staff will be able to call up new devices they are going to be
working with and get a ‘look and feel’ for the equipment – how it works,
how it’s controlled, specific safety features etc, before going on to
“It’s important to stress that the e-learning library will not be a
substitute for hands-on training but will support it, giving staff a
good, initial overview. We also have to bear in mind that pressures to
keep staff on the wards can mean that current medical device training is
patchy or incomplete. The e-learning platform will bring training to the
THOTH will be working closely with staff, particularly medical device
trainers, manufacturers and the Royal colleges, to compile the
e-library. It will set up a panel of experts to review specific
information before it is launched on the site, and staff will be
required to complete an assessment of their knowledge of a device as
part of the online learning.
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