Surgical robots and virtual reality – the future of medical training

Surgical robots, virtual reality headsets and interactive anatomy stations are among the hi-tech innovations that feature in a new medical education training centre developed by the University of Dundee, NHS Tayside and industry partners Medtronic.

The Dundee Institute for Healthcare Simulation (DIHS) was officially launched at the University’s School of Medicine, Ninewells Hospital, today.

Refurbished at a cost of £250,000, DIHS doubles training capacity and brings together the University’s Clinical Skills and Surgical Skills centres to form the first single-site facility in Scotland offering both surgical and clinical training. Doctors from around the world are among those who will take advantage of the ground-breaking training opportunities on offer at DIHS.

The launc showcased the dynamic teaching and training provided at DIHS, along with opportunities for research and development. A range of demonstrations showed how augmented and virtual reality is used in clinical training as well as how the latest developments in surgical skills are transforming patients’ lives. DIHS are also developing the first training programme for robotic-assisted surgery in Scotland.

With increasing evidence that simulation-based surgical training leads to improved patient outcomes and that both surgeons and clinicians perform better when they have a greater understanding of each other’s roles, DIHS fulfils a vital role in the future of healthcare.

DIHS Co-Director Dr Neil Harrison said, “This development supports Scotland’s position as one of the world’s top providers of medical education, and we look forward to welcoming not just our own students but healthcare professionals from all corners of the globe.

“The Surgical Skills Centre was the home of keyhole surgery, while the Clinical Skills Centre offers broad simulation-based medical education. By combining both centres, the University and NHS Tayside are once again leading by ensuring healthcare professionals are equipped with the necessary skills.”

Dr Catherine Calderwood, Chief Medical Officer for Scotland, welcomed the launch of DIHS, saying, “This exciting development provides a safe environment for healthcare professionals to learn and rehearse both technical and non-technical healthcare skills, which will ultimately lead to better outcomes for patients. With Scotland already being a destination of choice for many healthcare trainees from around the world, DIHS has the potential to make a significant impact locally, nationally and internationally.”

More information about DIHS can be found at

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Grant Hill
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University of Dundee
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