Coronavirus: Prosthetics company’s medical manikins used to test ventilators during pandemic

PUBLISHED: 19:46 22 April 2020 | UPDATED: 10:12 23 April 2020

A manikin simulating an older person in ICU at Salisbury Hospital

A manikin simulating an older person in ICU at Salisbury Hospital

Lifecast Elstree Studios

Manikins made by a prosthetics and film props company based in Hertfordshire are being used for training NHS staff during the COVID-19 crisis.

Manikins from Lifecast Body Simulation, a company based at Elstree Studios, being used in Brest, France, to test ventilators.Manikins from Lifecast Body Simulation, a company based at Elstree Studios, being used in Brest, France, to test ventilators.

Elstree Studios-based Lifecast provides prosthetics, VFX and props for the film and television industry, overseen by creative director John Schoonraad.

John has worked on many popular films including Kick-Ass, Beauty and the Beast and Kingsman: The Secret Service.

A branch of Lifecast, Lifecast Body Simulation, started three years ago to create ‘medical manikins’ for research, training and education in health organisations.

Due to their uniquely realistic appearance, Lifecast Body Simulation’s dummies are being used to train medical staff on the use of ventilators during the outbreak of novel coronavirus.

Elstree StudiosElstree Studios

David Halliwell, director of Lifecast Body Simulation, said: “The work we are undertaking recently has been to support the education of clinicians by ensuring that NHS teams are prepared for ‘surge’ capacity in the coming weeks.

“It is a great privilege to be able to help in this way.”

Manikins are also being used elsewhere in the world for medical preparations.

David added: “Lifecast distribute worldwide and have most recently opened manufacturing in Florida – so we have stories from USA, Australia and Europe of how our work to ensure realism in simulation is preparing teams to cope with this unprecedented activity.”

Director and co-founder of Lifecast Body Simulation, Rob Clark, said: “We have loaned equipment for training at the new NHS Nightingale Hospital at the ExCel Centre London for the duration of their operation.

“I personally delivered one of our ‘bodies’ to be used to train all the staff there to prepare for caring for large numbers of patients.”

Elstree Studios is best known as the home of major television shows such as Strictly Come Dancing and feature films including The Danish Girl, Paddington, Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows, The World’s End, World War Z starring Brad Pitt, and The King’s Speech.

Roger Morris, managing director of Elstree Studios, said: “The film and television industry has many transferable skills and Lifecast demonstrate how these film and TV creative skills can help the health industry generally and especially at this terrible time.

Roger Morris, managing director of Elstree Studios. Picture: Elstree StudiosRoger Morris, managing director of Elstree Studios. Picture: Elstree Studios

“Their initiative is fantastic and we applaud them.”

For more about Elstree Studios visit www.elstreestudios.co.uk


If you value what this story gives you, please consider supporting the Welwyn Hatfield Times. Click the link in the orange box above for details.

Related articles

Become a supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Latest from the Welwyn Hatfield Times