Background:  Medical error continues to significantly harm patients, notwithstanding the continued efforts to improve the situation over the past decade. We report a pilot project using high-fidelity simulation to integrate the World Health Organisation (WHO) patient safety curriculum into undergraduate medical education.

Methods:  From the literature on avoidable medical error we developed a series of authentic clinical scenarios using a Clinical Skills Lab (CSL) and simulated patients to produce a high-fidelity simulated ward environment. The clinical challenges embody common day-to-day encounters experienced by newly graduated doctors. After participating, final-year medical students were given time to reflect on the experience, given feedback and completed a quantitative evaluation.

Results:  Twenty final-year medical students completed the scenarios, and gave written feedback using a Likert scale (ranging from 1, strongly disagree, to 7, strongly agree). The responses showed 18 students agreed or strongly agreed that the session was valuable, all 20 would recommend the session to peers and 18 would be interested in attending further sessions. The students gave more mixed views of faculty feedback: 13 agreed or strongly agreed that this was useful, five were undecided and two were undecided or disagreed.

Conclusion:  With the caveats of a small sample size, first experience of high-fidelity simulation, the ‘halo’ effect in the evaluation, and with possible omissions from our evaluation, the students reported predominantly positively on the experience. We believe that the use of high-fidelity simulation in patient safety is a promising, safe and low-cost curricular development in undergraduate medical education. It is transferable worldwide and has the potential to improve patient safety outcomes by reducing medical error.