Staff at Swindon's Great Western Hospital are using new technology to spot the signs of life-threatening conditions.

Drawing on research from the University of Bath, staff and students at the local health setting have been using virtual reality goggles as part of training, using equipment loaned from training platform Goggle Minds.

Clinical teaching fellows have worked with the tech firm to create training scenarios using immersive simulation concerning sepsis, asthma and anaphylaxis.

Doctors and medical students are placed in an immersive environment, using virtual reality headsets and augmented reality to simulate treating patients.

This approach has been tested by a team from the University of Bath, with their findings on its effectiveness recently published in the Journal of Visual Communication & Medicine.

48,000 people per year die from sepsis, and this work has been praised by the UK Sepsis Trust for helping doctors and students learn key skills for identifying this life-threatening condition.

This technology also allows more doctors to be taught outside of hospital training rooms and in smaller numbers, increasing efficiency.

Dr Chris Jacobs is the undergraduate tutor to medical students at the GWH and a recent graduate of the University of Bath’s Doctor of Medicine programme.

He said: “The great thing about being able to place students and junior doctors in an immersive environment using this technology is that it can be used outside of ward areas, and it is helping to upskill our staff and students, to get the early identification of sepsis for our patients.

"This would not have been possible without Trust support from Mr Angus Waddell, Trust Academy dean, and Goggleminds directly working with clinicians."

Dr Ron Daniels, founder and joint CEO of the UK Sepsis Trust, said: “Sepsis is a life-threatening condition arising when the body's response to an infection causes organ damage. In the UK alone, it's responsible for 48,000 lives lost each year, many of which are preventable.

"The challenge facing health professionals working in a pressured NHS environment is that it can be very difficult to spot: that's why we're delighted to have partnered with Goggleminds to add a further dimension to our sepsis educational resources through virtual reality – training which sticks in the mind saves lives."

The Trust is the only health organisation in the region to have been loaned this equipment by Goggleminds and is currently using it to teach its medical students from Oxford University.