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Army reservists train on 'Apollo'

A ‘blue print’ partnership between 215 (Scottish) Multirole Medical Regiment (215 (Sc) MMR) and NHS Fife allowed medical reservists to enhance their skills using simulation training on a high spec mannequin named ‘Apollo’.

In a controlled learning environment in the state-of-the-art Simulation Training Centre at Queen Margaret Hospital, Dunfermline, members of 215 (Sc) MMR were given a ‘real-life’ experience in treating casualties.

The Simulation Training Centre uses innovative technologies to recreate realistic medical scenarios, using the latest highly realistic patient mannequins, who can mimic a broad range of medical conditions.

Major Babar Akbar, an NHS Doctor, British Army Reservist, and tutor in simulation said:

“What is really important from this training, is giving soldiers the assurance that they know what to do when they need to do it, it gives them that confidence. We train in the Army to the highest level and that is one thing we take immense pride in. Nonetheless what we also need is effective practice and this type of practice augments that training perfectly.”

Simulation is an essential component of medical, nursing, and allied health professional training programmes; with mannequins like ‘Apollo’ coming to life – they breath, have a pulse, have dilating pupils, can bleed and even speak, shout and scream!

Warrant Officer Class One Ryan Melville, the voice of ‘Apollo’ for the day, said:

“The simulators add a level of realism that would otherwise be impossible to achieve, the use of Apollo allows the Combat Medic to interact with the casualty as they would do on the battlefield, get feedback from them, and ensure the human side of treatment is carried out. It’s as close to the real thing as you can get.”

Individuals from 215 (Sc) MMR were able to participate in a scenario specific to evacuating a casualty from the point of wounding in a war zone.

Lance Corporal Lisa Fullerton said:

“Usually, our training means we are looking to our instructor to establish any vitals or to find out what is wrong with your patient and the instructor then tells you. But this is more realistic as you are getting the answers from the simulator, and it is actually moving.”

The session was recorded and played back to participants as part of a debrief in the Centre’s lecture area.

Lance Corporal Elise Drummond said:

“It’s good to have a debrief to learn what you have done well and what you think you could think about next time. It is also good because you are asked why you did what you did. You are giving your clinical justification, which means it is cementing that knowledge in yourself whether you did the right thing or not.”

Major Babar Abkar add:

“I could not have been prouder of the team. It goes on to reassure us that what we are doing is worthwhile. You see the progression of the medics we have in the Regiment and the wider Army. Seeing how they develop and flourish in training is extremely fulfilling.”

“I think this is a wonderful blue print for the rest of the country and we have set a great precedent. The partnership shows how forward thinking both the Army and NHS are. The fact that we have resources we can share, human and technological, and the fact that we can actually improve each other’s performance by training together is exactly what both organisations need.”

215 (Sc) MMR is the only Army Medical Services Regiment in Scotland with its Regimental Headquarters (RHQ) in Glasgow, a Role 1 Medical Squadron in Glenrothes and Hospital Squadrons in Edinburgh and Aberdeen along with troop locations in Dundee and Inverness.

The Regiment has the full spectrum of healthcare capabilities in its ranks to support tasks from training and education through to warfighting operations.

215 (Sc) MMR will deploy in 2024 to Kenya to deliver Health Outreach Clinics alongside local charity organisations in remote areas of Africa and Defence Engagement activities alongside the Kenyan Defence Force.

NHS Fife last year received a Defence Employer Recognition Scheme (ERS) Silver Award in recognition of the flexibility the Board has shown around the training commitments of reservists and support provided to instructors, veterans, military spouses, and partners.