A Norfolk hospital and university are using cutting edge technology including 360 degree video to train staff for a potential second wave of coronavirus.

Teams from the James Paget University Hospital in Gorleston (JPUH), and the University of East Anglia (UEA) have created online 3D learning resources for health staff to prepare them in the case of admissions to intensive care or critical care units.

Part of the course includes a 360-degree virtual tour of a typical ICU ward with demonstrations of technology and equipment used to care for patients, which can be viewed on a computer - with the aim to be viewed on virtual goggles.

It comes following a study from the British Medical Association which reported a “significant lack of confidence” among doctors’ to manage patient demand if there was a second peak.

The course incorporates features designed to help non-critical care staff to orientate themselves prior to, or upon return to a critical care setting.

More: Man treated for coronavirus at hospital he helped to buildSharon Crowle, head of education and practice development at the JPUH, said; “I am very excited to see the launch of this new critical care blended learning. It provides a fantastic resource to support staff new to this area and provides a wonderful platform that learners can use to increase understanding of this environment.

“There has been a great need to nationally to redeploy health care staff to critical care and this resource can support staff with this, it provides further resources for any increase in critical care services in the future due to COVID or for other reasons.”

More: Former coronavirus patient ‘elated’ at breakthrough drug newsUsing the resources staff will be able to cover topics including patient care, resuscitation, airway and respiratory management, circulation, patient assessment, technical skills and psychological care.

The course was commissioned by the local workforce action board for the Norfolk and Waveney Health & Care Partnership and was developed by senior critical care doctors, nurses and educationalists at JPUH as well as Professors Sam Leinster and Jerome Pereira from UEA.

Professor Pereira said; “This course is primarily aimed at upskilling staff to meet the challenges posed by a potential second wave of COVID-19 in the UK, but will have application in other countries where the disease is currently active and widespread. In the long term this innovative and interactive programme will prove immensely useful for clinical staff and medical students to orientate themselves when posted to the highly charged intensive care setting.”