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The Bill Mapleson Centre

Cutting-edge clinical centre opens in South Wales

22 May 2014

A new state-of-the-art centre for medical testing and training goes live today in the Cynon Valley.

The Bill Mapleson Centre brings the design and testing of medical equipment and the training of tomorrow’s doctors together under one roof – working with business for the benefit of patients.

A partnership between Cardiff University and the global medical products company Flexicare, The Bill Mapleson Centre will help train doctors and dentists, acting as a focus for undergraduate and post-graduate teaching and continuous professional development.

The Centre, in Mountain Ash, is named in honour of Professor William (‘Bill’) Mapleson, who has worked in academic anaesthesia at Cardiff University for over 60 years. Health Minister Mark Drakeford will be joined by Bill Mapleson to officially open the Centre this afternoon (14.45hrs).

Professor Judith Hall, from Cardiff University School of Medicine, said: “The Bill Mapleson Centre provides a cutting-edge clinical space – working with industry for the good of patients. A state of the art physics laboratory for equipment development and testing, together with a clinical simulation suite for teaching and a space for innovation make this a unique enterprise facility.  It will help the medical community and industry for years to come – a fitting tribute to the work of Bill Mapleson.”

The opening of The Bill Mapleson Centre dovetails with ‘Innovation Wales’ – the Welsh Government strategy to find public sector solutions that support business innovation and procurement.

Welsh Government Health Minister Mark Drakeford said: “The new state of the art laboratory at The Bill Mapleson Centre at Flexicare will not only offer a cutting-edge focus for equipment development and testing, but will also offer Cardiff University students the opportunity to develop and refresh their skills using simulators in a clinical environment.  This forward-looking approach to innovation fits in with the Welsh Government’s aims of developing new ideas and innovation as specified in our Science for Wales strategy.”

Professor Bill Mapleson said: “It’s really quite something to have a Centre named after you. I’ve had a fine medal from the Association of Anaesthetists for innovation, but to have a whole centre for innovation named after you is really quite extraordinary. “

Professor Mapleson wrote a paper describing breathing systems in 1954 which was to make him famous. “Within the paper I had just described the various breathing systems – System A, System B, and so on – and about two years later I was at a meeting of the Anaesthetic section of the Royal Society of Medicine, and people were talking about the ‘Mapleson A’ and the ‘Mapleson B’ – and I thought ‘ Good Lord. Have I become famous overnight just through my knowledge of the alphabet?

“My career has been an extraordinary affair, summed up on the basis that I’ve led a sort of charmed life. I’ve been able to do research and be paid for it, which is my hobby as much as my work, and so an ideal situation. If your work is merely a means of earning the bread and butter it must be deadly dull. But to be able to work hard because you enjoy it as much as anything is wonderful.”

The Bill Mapleson Centre, on Cwm Cynon Business Park, builds on an existing strong partnership between Flexicare and Cardiff University. The company has sponsored the University’s Simulation Centre, which allows students to learn, rehearse and perfect procedures in treating sick patients, anaesthesia and intensive care.

Simulation equipment previously based in Cardiff is now housed within The Bill Mapleson Centre, bringing continuous professional development and refresher training to the wider medical community across South Wales.

Hash Poormand, Managing Director of Flexicare Medical Limited said: “Flexicare is proud to continue its on-going collaboration and partnership with Cardiff University in providing a Simulation Centre and independent Test Lab for The Bill Mapleson Centre at our UK headquarters.”