The Simulation and Interactive Learning (SaIL) Centres’ focus is providing realistic and safe learning environments in which to teach Healthcare staff and students how to improve patient safety. The aim of this type of training primarily focuses on how individuals work within teams with the intention of helping them cope better with stressful and emotional situations that they will likely encounter in healthcare settings.

We practice this by giving learners the opportunity to practice simulated scenarios that reflect what they do in their everyday working lives. These scenarios occur in environments that are set up to replicate the specific environment that the healthcare professionals work in.

The centres use sophisticated life-size manikins, known as human patient simulators (HPS), to train learners in the non-technical skills related to patient safety such as leadership, communication, team work etc.  The full body human patient simulators breathe, respond to drugs, and have measurable blood pressures and pulse rates.

Users of the centres can be put into real-life scenarios including intensive care and resuscitation. They can practice their roles in a variety of circumstances and reflect on how they handle potentially stressful and highly-charged emergency situations. This reflection is done by video playback where they have an opportunity after their scenario to view the scenario and discuss what happened. The scenario is debriefed by specially trained healthcare professionals who follow the Debrief Diamond model. This is an invaluable opportunity to understand how their role interacts with patients and other members of the health care team.

The centres also provide facilities where clinical skills can be practiced on a variety of part-body models.

This kind of innovative training has been shown to increase patient safety and improve patient management skills, as training can be done away from the real clinical environment.

Besides running scenarios in simulated environments the centres are also able to conduct in-situ training both in a clinical area in a hospital or any other healthcare environment (for e.g. GP practices).

The SaIL centre is one of the leading and largest medical simulation centres in the UK. This state-of-the-art education centre is dedicated to delivering high fidelity simulation and clinical skills training.  A wide range of courses are run for both undergraduate and postgraduate multi-disciplinary healthcare professionals. The training facilities include:

  • Six-bed ward/clinical skills training space
  • Operating theatre/Intensive care
  • Outpatient consultation room
  • Home environment
  • Seminar room
  • High-tech audio-visual integrated system

Patient Safety/Human Factors

Whether using sophisticated life-size manikins, trained actors or part-task devices the SaIL centre courses are always designed with Patient Safety and Service Quality in mind.

We can simulate a wide variety of settings including:

  • Resuscitation area
  • Ward area
  • ICU
  • GP/outpatient
  • Home
  • Operating Theatre

Being immersed in these realistic environments and being allowed to practice roles and face challenging circumstances helps equip doctors and nurses to handle stressful and highly-charged situations in clinical practice.

Our candidates improve their clinical and patient management skills without risk to real patients. We also stress the importance of what are known as Non-Technical Skills (NTS).

Non-technical Skills

These are vital aspects of healthcare which relate to teamwork, avoiding error and ensuring dignity and compassion are central to what we do. We aim to ensure that all our course participants, whatever the specialty, are enabled to:

  1. Know their environment
  2. Anticipate and plan
  3. Take a leadership role
  4. Communicate effectively
  5. Call for help early
  6. Allocate attention wisely; use all information available
  7. Distribute workload; utilize all available resources

We increasingly teach NTS to inter-professional and multi-disciplinary teams. This provides significant insights into the ways in which healthcare practice works in real life and allows for groups to learn from each other and explore barriers and challenges across disciplinary boundaries.


In our interactive learning environment our faculty is trained to facilitate reflective practice using structured ‘debriefs’ including video playback; here participants have an opportunity to review and discuss events, explore clinical and non-clinical issues and take away meaningful lessons for their practice.

Human Factors

At the SaIL centres we approach Patient Safety from a Human Factors (HF) perspective.  This involves examination of technology, human error, work systems and processes and safety culture to improve care and develop innovative, excellent practice.  The SaIL centres have a strong and growing HF group with psychologists, clinicians and managers working together to improve safety.

The St Thomas House SaIL Centre and King’s College London are collaborating in a new Centre for Applied Resilience in Healthcare, funded by the GSTT Charity from 2013. This will involve applying HF principles to safety and improvement work in vital areas such as Accident and Emergency and Older Person’s Care. All our wider improvement work feeds back into course development and we will have further details soon of our Human Factors in Healthcare course which was developed in 2013.

The Team

Medical Education