Junior doctors in the West Midlands will be able to hone their skills at a new multi-million simulation centre courtesy of a former patient's legacy.
The facility, which will be built at Good Hope Hospital in Sutton Coldfield, would not have been possible without the generosity of Margaret Hollier.
The 95-year-old, who died in March 2002, bequeathed her Four Oaks estate - worth an estimated £1.8 million - to support clinical education and training at the hospital.
Now £1.6 million of the widow's legacy will be spent on developing a regional simulation centre, which will receive its inaugural intake of about 200 junior doctors in September.
It is expected the centre could accommodate up to 400 young medics and medical students, through developing links with the region's three medical schools at Birmingham, Keele and Warwick universities.
The Hollier Simulation Centre will include an operating theatre, ward, and consulting rooms where junior medics' moves will be filmed on CCTV so their performance can be analysed. It is not the first time the family's name has been linked to medical training at Good Hope - the Harry Hollier Lecture Theatre was dedicated to her husband's memory after he died in 1995.
Mrs Hollier first discussed leaving some money to the hospital with her GP, Dr David Wall, who put her in touch with Dr John Milles, a consultant who was director of post-graduate training at the time. After being shown around, she decided the hospital should benefit from a bequest specifically for medical education.
Dr Wall, now deputy director of postgraduate training for the West Midlands Deanery which oversees junior doctors' education, admitted he was shocked to learn Mrs Hollier had left everything to Good Hope.
"As GPs, people do come to you and ask which good causes they could leave something to, and when I suggested medical training she liked the idea," he said. "There's no way the trust would have had that kind of money available to spend on medical training, so gifts like Mrs Hollier's are very rare and very much appreciated."
Dr Milles, a consultant physician at Good Hope, added: "Medical training has changed. In the past you could practise on real patients, under supervision, but now we're moving towards learning practical skills and teamworking in simulated situations.
"Mrs Hollier's generous donation to the hospital has enabled the trust to set up the Hollier Simulation Centre, which will lead to real benefits for our patients."
Mark Goldman, chief executive of Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust which runs Good Hope, said the legacy would allow them to set up the first facility of its type in the region.
"We're working closely with Birmingham City University, which also does a lot of simulation work such as computer programmes for diagnosing patients," he said.
"This facility will be as similar to a working hospital environment as you can get. We haven't got anything like this in the West Midlands, but the Hollier legacy has enabled us to invest in developing a regional hub for this kind of training for junior doctors."