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28 November 2008
The Department of Radiography successfully bid for money from the NHS Capital Expenditure Scheme to install the Virtual Environment Radiotherapy Training facilities.
The new unit allows therapeutic radiography students to gain ‘hands-on’ experience of using the linear accelerator treatment machines in a safe environment, in preparation for, and alongside their clinical training.
Opening the new unit, Mrs Hart said: "I am delighted to officially open this cutting edge virtual reality training unit which is the first such facility for NHS staff in Wales. This new unit gives students the experience of what it would be like working in a clinical setting. It will provide therapeutic radiography students with a facility which will greatly improve training opportunities and ultimately enhance the care of patients with cancer.
"I am particularly pleased to see interdisciplinary collaboration with computer science experts in Cardiff University and expect that this will lead to exploration of opportunities for the training of other types of clinical staff and for research in the growing field of virtual reality and simulation."
Tracking the user through a series of sensors, the sophisticated new equipment creates a simulated environment which is then projected onto screens via the computer software. The student user is immersed into the ‘virtual world’ of a radiotherapy treatment room and can perform the usual functions undertaken in ‘setting up’ a patient for their radiotherapy treatment and associated tasks.
Speaking during the official opening, The School of Healthcare Studies’ Deputy Director of Radiography Dr Paul Brown said: "The ‘virtual reality’ system allows some 20 therapeutic students per year to gain vital ‘hands-on’ experience of using the linear accelerator treatment machines in a safe environment, in preparation for, and alongside their clinical training.
"The new facility using two Sony 4K projectors and Vicon MX cameras, has been designed and installed by HoloVis Limited puts us ahead of other UK universities in terms of its projection capability and future training and research potential. Our students will now be able to learn important concepts and practice new techniques in a safe environment, where no harm can come to the student or patient."
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