Immersive VR training for NHS staff developed in the east of England

Mouldy food and piles of unopened post are just two of the clues in new virtual reality training that aims to help healthcare professionals identify issues for patients at home.


Developed by the NHS England Enhance Team in the east of England with educational technology provider Immersive Medical Ltd, the virtual reality training allows users an insight into a patient’s life at home and how their condition is affecting them.


Users follow the journey of 83-year-old Peter through the healthcare system via a number of interactive videos that asks users to consider symptoms, clues and medical observations to make decisions on his treatment.


‘Stop and think’ moments provide opportunities to pause and consider questions relating to the scenario shown in the training.


The training provides a valuable insight into some of the clues at home that might indicate how a patient is doing, rather than just their medical condition and the symptoms they experience or talk about.


Dr Brendon O’Leary, who leads the programme for the NHS in the East of England, said:


“By blending cutting-edge VR technology and clinical science while using old-fashioned storytelling, our learners are immersed in what illness really means to real people. We’re delighted that our VR project will help the NHS of the future to benefit patients for many years to come.”


The training also demonstrates how different NHS services and staff, such as GPs, community nurses, paramedics and hospital staff work together for the benefit of patients. This collaboration enables a collective consideration of the next steps in the patient care pathway.


The videos are separated into four sections focused on the area of multi-morbidity – where a patient has several physical or mental conditions – which is increasingly common in older patients.


While the training is designed for full VR headsets it can be used on all devices, including smartphones and laptops, and can also be used with cardboard Google headsets. The training is available to all NHS staff via the national learning hub.


This programme supports the NHS Long Term Workforce Plan’s ambitions to take full advantage of digital and technological innovations.






Notes to Editors


  • Images of a training session can be downloaded here.


  • The NHS England Enhancing Generalist Skills (enhance), programme is a professional development offer. It aims to equip all healthcare staff with the additional generalist skills required to deliver excellent person-centred care across the evolving complexities of the health and care system.
  • Participants on the region’s Enhance programme speak about their involvement in the programme and the VR training in this short film.
  • The NHS Long Term Workforce Plan is the first comprehensive workforce plan for the NHS, putting staffing on a sustainable footing and improving patient care. It focuses on retaining existing talent and making the best use of new technology alongside the biggest recruitment drive in health service history.
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