Mobile Clinical Skills Unit takes to the Road – New vehicle to train healthcare staff across Scotland

A new hi-tech ‘Mobile Skills Unit’ (MSU) will provide high quality clinical training for practitioners in Scotland’s remote and rural areas.

Launched today at Forth Valley Royal Hospital in Larbert by Cabinet Secretary for Health Jeane Freeman, the £265,000 vehicle contains a host of advanced clinical simulation features, enabling staff to learn the latest in emergency care, wherever they are based. It updates and replaces a vehicle that has successfully toured Scotland for the last decade.

Ms Freeman said: “It’s essential that wherever you are a patient in Scotland, you can be treated to the highest standards. As thinking and technology develops, we need to be make sure that our NHS staff are able to build on their skills and that’s where the Mobile Skills Unit (MSU) comes in. Together with online learning and telemedicine, the team have trained over 9,000 staff on the unit in the last decade, many in remote and rural areas.  This unit will allow us to bring the next generation of training to Scotland’s clinicians.”

NES Chair David Garbutt said: “Scotland can rightly be proud of its record in Medical Education: a lot of leadership, innovation and hard work goes into that reputation.  This Unit, and its ongoing operation is a result of a wide partnership from across Scotland. The previous Unit was hugely effective, and we look forward to working with our partners to deliver high quality training in the years to come.”

Features of the new Mobile Skills Unit include:

  • Adult, child and baby simulators that can talk, breathe and have heart sounds, with dedicated storage
  • Digital ‘Kwick’ screens which provide different backgrounds to simulate different health and social care delivery contexts
  • Dedicated briefing and debriefing area using personalised head-phones.
  • Flexible layout which can be configured to need
  • An innovative power management system including silent generator running to enhance the learning environment
  • Solar panels to minimise CO2 emissions


How the MSU works

The MSU spends 1-2 weeks at 18 different venues throughout Scotland each year. A variety of skills can be taught onboard, depending on the needs of the staff in the local area. These range from immediate life support for trauma victims, airway management, suturing and multi-agency emergency scenarios.


Other uses of the MSU

  • Using simulation to train the public: The mobile skills unit has become a focus for training local communities in skills using simulation. ‘Heartstart’ is a commonprogramme, training people to undertake CPR training and how to use defibrillators.
  • Links with third sector: We have also used the MSU todisseminate the opportunities for training carers and others providing support in health and social care.
  • Multi-agency Exercises: These have been developed for a simulated explosion at one of the distilleries on Islay (Exercise Tempest) and for a man-overboard exercise near Oban.