The first virtual 3D surgical programme has been developed to train the doctors of the future in Scotland.

It allows medical students, trainee doctors and clinicians to practise surgical techniques on 3D models and animations.

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The first of its kind in Scotland, the programme was developed by Jubilee Hospital in Clydebank, near Glasgow.

Such technology is not widely available and unlike using a cadaver or training dummy, it allows the student to repeat techniques several times and at their own pace through human-computer interaction.

In the future it could be used to help patients better understand their diagnosis and treatment options by showing visual representations of what that would involve.

Visiting the hospital to see the programme in action, Health Secretary Alex Neil said: "This is a really exciting development which shows how new technology can be used to help improve care and treatment for Scottish patients.

"I look forward to seeing how it develops and how it can be rolled out further to train more doctors in more specialties."

The 3D training is being used for an Enhanced Recovery Programme for teaching on knee anatomy and regional anaesthesia but it may be used for training in more specialties. The hospital provides heart and lung services and is a major centre for orthopaedics.

The training is the brain-child of Dr Robert Zimmer, consultant anaesthetist within the hospital's orthopaedic service and a software development consultant.

He said: "The 3D training programme is currently in its infancy but the opportunities are limitless and that is something which will benefit patients across Scotland.

"We hope that it will improve people's understanding and visualisation of the body's anatomy and in the future can be taken from the training room to the consulting room to educate our patients about their condition and treatment."