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In 2020, Nuffield Oxford Hospitals Fund provided funding for replacing the Harvey Simulator, used to teach medical students by replicating cardiopulmonary symptoms. Due to Covid delays the simulator was delivered in January 2023.

Two Final Year medical students honing clinical skills on Harvey

In January 2023, the Oxford Medical School took delivery of a new cardiopulmonary simulator for medical student teaching, fully funded by a generous grant from the Nuffield Oxford Hospitals Fund (NOHF). Harvey is a life-sized digital mannequin, capable of simulating 50 different cardiovascular and respiratory conditions. Students are able to learn clinical skills such as examination of the arterial and venous pulses, palpation of the chest and auscultation of the heart and lungs. Students are then challenged to identify the patterns of findings indicating diagnoses such as cardiac failure, chronic obstructive obstructive pulmonary disease and different forms of valvular heart disease. By integrating examination with simulated history taking and interpretation of other diagnostic information such as x-rays and electrocardiograms, Harvey offers a safe and stimulating environment in which to practice clinical skills.  

In 2002, NOHF funded an earlier, non-digital, version of Harvey. After thousands of hours of use, it was no longer possible to obtain the parts and servicing to keep him going. In the intervening period, a new, fully digital version of Harvey had been produced, lighter and with enhanced features. Director of Clinical Studies, Catherine Swales commented: ‘It is wonderful that NOHF supported our application for the Next Generation Harvey simulator, and particularly apt as the Trust had also funded its predecessor. We are extremely grateful for this generous support’. 

Since the arrival of new Harvey, over 300 students have received teaching, ranging from early year students learning the physical examination for the first time, to final year students learning higher level diagnostic skills. To increase the opportunities for supervised learning, senior students have volunteered to be trained in using Harvey to teach the early year students. We hope to increase this peer-to-peer teaching as a way of ensuring the sustainability of teaching using Harvey in the future. The NHS needs more doctors, and the UK government plans to increase the number of students entering medicine over the next decade.  To meet the challenge of training more doctors at the same time as the pressures on clinical services are increasing, it is crucial that we use innovative teaching methods and resources to complement existing methods of teaching. The Oxford School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences is very fortunate to have the support of NOHF in meeting this challenge.