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1. Background

1.2 A Report in 2007 (Radiotherapy: developing a world class service for England Report to Ministers from National Radiotherapy Advisory Group) recommended the introduction of Hybrid Virtual Environment skills training facilities in the 10 education centres and 51 associated clinical sites delivering pre-registration radiotherapy programmes in England to address high attrition.

1.3 The Virtual Environment for Radiotherapy Training (VERT) system provides a virtual radiotherapy treatment room, including a life-size model of a fully-functional (except for the production of radiation) linear accelerator. It allows the user to interact with the virtual room, control the equipment and set up radiation treatments as if in the real world. The environment is a hybrid one in that the virtual linear accelerator is controlled using an actual hand-pendant.

1.4 Educational institutions use a system called ‘Immersive VERT’. This employs rear projection and active stereoscopy requiring the user to wear LCD shutter glasses. A tracking system, which enables the image to be projected according to the user’s position, further enhances the degree of ‘immersion’.

1.5 ‘Seminar VERT’ can be situated in seminar or meeting rooms without significant refurbishment and is the system used in radiotherapy and oncology departments. It features front projection using passive stereoscopy and requires the use of polarising glasses.  User tracking is not provided.

1.6 Images and radiotherapy treatment plans in DICOM format can be imported to VERT, allowing 3-D visualisation of a wide range of simple and complex treatments and related anatomical information.

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