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Cymraeg

Health Minister opens new ‘virtual’ radiography suite

27 November 2008

A new state-of-the-art ‘virtual’ radiography suite, which will improve care of patients with cancer, has been officially opened today (Thursday 27th November 2008) by Health Minister, Edwina Hart.

The Cardiff University Radiography Virtual Environment Suite (CURVES), based in The School of Healthcare Studies and funded through the NHS Capital and Expenditure Scheme, allows therapeutic radiography students the opportunity to practise their skills in a completely safe environment.

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 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."

Radiotherapy is a treatment for patients with cancer and some non-malignant disorders which utilises the biological effects of high energy X-rays and other ionising radiations.

Tracking the user through a series of infra-red camera sensors, the sophisticated new equipment creates a simulated environment which is then projected onto screens via Virtual Environment Radiotherapy Training (VERT) 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.

Deputy Director of Radiography, School of Healthcare Studies, 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 uses two Sony 4K projectors and Vicon MX cameras 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 the patient."

Whilst CURVES is primarily used for radiotherapy training, future usage will include virtual diagnostic radiography and possible developments within other healthcare professions.

-ENDS-

Notes to Editors:

1. The School of Healthcare Studies (SOHCS)

The School of Healthcare Studies (SOHCS) is the principal centre of academic activity for Allied Health professionals (AHP’s) in Wales. State of the art facilities and committed staff ensure that degree courses in Occupational Therapy, Physiotherapy, Radiography and Operating Departmental Practice remain the most accredited in Wales.

A major component of the School’s funding comes from education contracts with the Welsh Assembly Government (Health Department), ensuring that undergraduate education meets the needs of the health and social care sectors in Wales.

All courses offer a unique opportunity for undergraduates to experience practical settings while absorbing a wide range of expertise and consistently high professional standards. The University boasts the largest training centre for Diagnostic Radiographers in Wales and is the only place in which students can qualify to become Chartered Physiotherapists.

Alongside its undergraduate programmes, Cardiff University’s School of Healthcare Studies offers an extensive range of Postgraduate / MSc opportunities and with established facilities such as The Research Centre for Clinical Kinaesiology; individuals are able to conduct comprehensive research into vital projects.

2. Cardiff University

Cardiff University is recognised in independent government assessments as one of Britain’s leading teaching and research universities.

2008 marks the 125th anniversary of Cardiff University having been founded by Royal Charter in 1883. Today the University combines impressive modern facilities and a dynamic approach to teaching and research. The University’s breadth of expertise in research and research-led teaching encompasses: the humanities; the natural, physical, health, life and social sciences; engineering and technology; preparation for a wide range of professions; and a longstanding commitment to lifelong learning.

Cardiff is a member of the Russell Group of the UK’s leading research universities.

Visit the University website at: www.cardiff.ac.uk

Further Information:

For further information, please contact:

Dr. Paul Brown

Deputy Director

Department of Radiography

School of Healthcare Studies

Cardiff University

Ty Dewi Sant

Heath Park

Cardiff

CF14 4XN

Tel: 029 206 87697

E-mail: brownpn@Cardiff.ac.uk

or

Chris Jones

Public Relations and Communications

Cardiff University

Tel: 029 20 874 731

E-mail: jonesc83@cardiff.ac.uk