First virtual radiotherapy system in the UK goes live in Tayside 

A virtual radiotherapy system which simulates a linear accelerator is now in use at Ninewells Hospital – the first of its kind in the UK. 
 
The Virtual Environment Radiotherapy Training – VERT system simulates the look, sounds and features of a linear accelerator, which is the machine used to deliver radiotherapy. 
 
Users can see three-dimensional movements of the virtual machine and patient couch, radiotherapy plans and doses, patient organs, CT and MRI images, and treatments in a safe and controlled learning environment.
 
VERT is used in 111 institutions and 22 countries worldwide, and Ninewells is the first hospital in the UK to have the compact version of this system, which is portable and can be easily moved throughout the hospital to deliver training.
 
It is already being used to support existing educational initiatives like prostate prehabilitation, medical student education, junior doctor induction and information sessions at Maggie's Dundee for patients.  
 
The therapeutic radiography department is also exploring using VERT to support radiotherapy students on clinical placement, and expanding its information sessions to patients, families and other health professionals along the cancer pathway so everyone can benefit from a realistic understanding of the radiotherapy treatment room.   
 
Using VERT for these training and education sessions meant that the actual linear accelerators can be used to treat patients more of the time.
 
Advanced practitioner in education and development, Kelsey Normand said, “Since radiotherapy is often difficult for people to imagine or conceptualise, our VERT system helps bring radiotherapy to life for staff and patients alike. This will not only enhance the overall experience that we offer our patients, but also allow us to more easily bridge across professional boundaries and increase understanding among different specialities. 
 
“We are keen to support VERT learning for as many staff as possible. We know each individual will be able to pair their own experience and expertise with VERT's technical specifications to come up with new and innovative ideas to help deliver the safe, effective and patient-centred care that is at the heart of what we do.” 
 
Head of therapeutic radiography, Damian Parr said, “VERT offers the radiotherapy department a wonderful opportunity to expand education and training to multi-disciplinary teams, but the most exciting thing is the enhanced patient engagement and experience it will give us.
 
“This was all made possible by a generous donation from a former patient and we are extremely grateful to them.”