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Surgical Skills

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Surgical Skills Centre


The Surgical Skills Centre delivers high quality, relevant procedure-based skills courses to local, national and international medical personnel at all stages of their career.


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About the Centre

The Surgical Skills Centre, developed by Sir Alfred Cuschieri in 1992, has facilities which include two wet labs with workstations equipped with state of the art laparoscopic equipment, and an anatomy laboratory equipped with operating microscopes. Part task trainers and computer workstations permit virtual reality anatomy and endoscopic training. All rooms have large flat screens to which live surgery can be streamed from operating theatres in Ninewells hospital. The DIHS makes extensive use of cadavers preserved using the Thiel technique, a sophisticated method of preservation of complete human cadavers with provides an excellent model for procedural skills training that is unique in the UK. This refurbishment provides us with an additional seminar room, a new delegates lounge area along with a new AV/IT installation. 

Latest News 

The Dundee Institute of Health Care Simulation [DIHS] Surgical Skills Centre is the first centre in the UK to be awarded full accreditation from The Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh (RCSEd).

Current RCSEd President Professor Michael Griffin OBE visited the Centre to mark this prestigious award with the unveiling of a plaque on Wednesday 6th February 2019.  The event was attended by Professor Rory McCrimmon, Dean, School of Medicine, DIHS staff, local clinical faculty and Scottish Enterprise.   Dr Vanessa Kay gave a presentation on the activities of the Centre to the President and colleague Mr Duncan McArthur, Director of Professional Activities, RCSEd then led a tour of the recently refurbished facilities. 

The Dundee Institute for Healthcare Simulation was formed to capitalise on the capability of the Surgical and Clinical Skills Centres within the School of Medicine at the University of Dundee. These award winning facilities have combined experience of providing simulation-based medical education spanning thirty years. Current activity within the DIHS spans healthcare practice, and includes all aspects of healthcare provision including practical, communication and non-technical skills. Significant recent advances have been made in developing cadaveric models for image-guided therapies, and developing national programmes for clinical and communication skills.

This recognition from one of the largest and oldest surgical organisations in the world recognises the rigorous internal quality assurance processes that the Centre, and the College, apply across the full range of their educational portfolios, and further strengthens the collaboration between the two parties.



We are very excited to be the first centre in Scotland to soon offer Robotic Training as we recieved our Da Vinci Robot to the Surgical Skills Centre.

Dundee Institute for Healthcare Simulation (DIHS) has taken delivery of a leading-edge surgical robot.

DIHS, a medical education centre formed by the University of Dundee, NHS Tayside and industry partners Medtronic, are developing the first training programme for robotic-assisted surgery in Scotland.

Surgical robots are used to carry out operations across four health boards in Scotland, but surgeons must travel to England or overseas to be trained in their use. The installation of the £1.7 million da Vinci robot at DIHS is the first step towards a full robotic training centre being established north of the border.

The robot will be used to train surgeons and theatre staff across disciplines including urology, gynaecology, ENT and general surgery. A range of courses from basic robotic skills to advanced masterclasses will be available at DIHS while training will also be given to surgeons alongside the conventional components of existing medical courses.

DIHS Co-Director Dr Vanessa Kay predicts that robotics will eventually transform the surgical process in the way that the minimal access, or keyhole, surgery pioneered in Dundee by Sir Alfred Cushieri did.

“No one was doing laparoscopic surgery when Sir Alfred pioneered its use and clinical implementation but now 70% of all surgery is minimally invasive,” she said. “Soon we will start to see robotic surgery taking on more and more of the procedures currently done as a result of Sir Alfred’s work.

“There are so many advantages to robotic surgery for both patients and surgeons. Evidence has shown that robotics can lead to better outcomes, reduced length of hospital stays, reduced amounts of blood lost during surgery and improved accuracy of technique. As such, it is vital that Scotland is at the forefront of robotics training and implementation.

“Robotics are still not perfect, however, so research and development remains vital and we want companies to get involved in this process through DIHS. We are immensely grateful for the support of our partners who have enable us to take this step towards a full robotics training centre.”

The da Vinci robot to be installed at Ninewells has been made available to DIHS as a result of its academic and commercial partnerships with organisations including Mid Essex Trust Hospital Services Trust and Intuitive Surgical, manufacturers of the robot.

DIHS was officially launched at the University’s School of Medicine at Ninewells last year. Refurbished at a cost of £250,000, DIHS doubled training capacity and brought 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.



By the numbers

Thiel cadaver courses
Delegates trained each year
Specialities covered each year