Former Goodyear factory workers in Wolverhampton are helping doctors and nurses at Birmingham Children’s Hospital train for emergency scenarios, after the hospital was able to purchase a state-of-the-art newborn simulator mannequin, thanks to a generous donation from the group. 

The 5/344 Transport and General Workers Union Benevolent Fund has donated over £65,000 to Birmingham Children’s Hospital Charity. The union's benevolence funds come from sick pay left over from when the Goodyear tyre factory closed in 2017. 

Over the last few years, the fund has supported many worthwhile causes in and around Wolverhampton and the Black Country, but this is the first time it’s supported a Birmingham-based charity. 

The group were inspired to get in touch with the charity after a nomination by member Kevin Jackson, whose grandson Teddy Phillips, two, is a patient at the hospital, being treated for a heart condition.  

After speaking with Birmingham Children’s Hospital Charity, the team there was able to find a project that the group agreed would really make a difference. Part of the donation has been used to fund a high-fidelity newborn simulation mannequin.  

The Paediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) at Birmingham Children’s Hospital is the largest in the UK, and as well as providing care to some of the sickest children from across the country, it provides a series of training courses to its own staff and to PICU staff from hospitals across the region.  

The ability for teams to practice skills within their regular clinical environment, using simulation technology that provides immediate feedback, is essential to maintaining the highest quality of care and improve outcomes for patients. 

The mannequin – which the team has named ‘Teddy’ after Kevin’s grandson - is one of the most advanced newborn simulators available and can be programmed to simulate complex scenarios and respond to interventions from the medical team with exceptional realism. With tracking and recording software, the mannequin allows for real-time learning along with the ability to play scenarios back to review activities and improve skills. 

Cyril Barrett, from the 5/344 Transport and General Workers Union Benevolent Fund, said: “We’re thrilled to be able to support Birmingham Children’s Hospital Charity in this way. Over the last few years, we have funded over 140 projects, as we aim to create a lasting legacy for all of the ex-members of the union branch, and what better legacy can there be, than to invest in our children and ensure they get the best treatment available at this world-leading hospital.” 

Nicole Hermanns, head of philanthropy at Birmingham Children’s Hospital Charity, said: "We’re so thankful for this generous donation. With the majority of our PICU patients under the age of one, the ability to practice skills on this type of mannequin is critically important. 

Simulation training is crucial for the learning and development of our clinical staff in PICU and across the hospital, and a robust training plan has been put in place that will require the use of high-fidelity mannequins 288 days of the year.  

These mannequins will directly impact thousands of health care professionals and tens of thousands of children across the West Midlands.