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Last Updated: Thursday, 8 December 2005, 13:00 GMT
Groaning dummy teaches students
"Sim Man"
"Sim Man" can tell students if a particular treatment hurts him
Trainee pharmacists in Kent are using a life-size talking dummy as a training tool to hone their skills.

The computer-operated simulator allows the students to perform complex procedures without endangering patients' lives.

It is the centrepiece of a new suite of laboratories at the Medway School of Pharmacy, in Chatham.

The 30,000 "Sim Man" gives pupils the chance to take blood, put in a drip and see how patients respond to drugs.

'Programmed to die'

"The course offers far greater patient contact than any other school of pharmacy within the country," said teacher Stuart Gill-Banham.

Pharmacists now have greater freedom to dispense drugs directly to patients without them first having to see a doctor in a move approved by the government last month.

Professor Clare Mackie, head of the Medway School of Pharmacy, said "Sim Man" could talk to the students, letting them know that a particular treatment was hurting him.

"He can also display the symptoms of a wide range of cardiac and respiratory illnesses such as a heart attack, bronchitis and pneumonia.

"He reacts to students' attempts to treat him and he can even be programmed to die and then respond to resuscitation attempts."

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