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Chamber and committees

Meeting date: Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Meeting of the Parliament 11 December 2018

Agenda: Time for Reflection, Topical Question Time, Fisheries Negotiations, Decision Time, Ultrasound Scanner (60th Anniversary)


Ultrasound Scanner (60th Anniversary)

The Deputy Presiding Officer (Christine Grahame)

The final item of business is a members’ business debate on motion S5M-14921, in the name of Angela Constance, on the 60th anniversary of the ultrasound scanner, invented in Scotland. The debate will be concluded without any question being put.

Motion debated,

That the Parliament recognises that 2018 marks the 60th anniversary of the pioneering innovation, the obstetric ultrasound scanner, following the publication in 1958 of the seminal paper by Donald, MacVicar and Brown, which brought about its development; commends Professor Dugald Cameron who, when he was a final year student that year at The Glasgow School of Art, designed the prototype and worked with a young engineer, Tom Brown, to develop the production version, which was the first of its kind in the world; understands that, since its invention in Scotland, this globally-significant breakthrough has been used to perform over 8.7 million scans annually in the UK, with women in particular benefiting from this safe and non-invasive imaging technique; believes that the scanner has grown in stature, not only as a vital medical tool for the care of pregnant women, but in offering essential diagnosis for a plethora of conditions in men, women and children; acknowledges that it has also expanded into certain therapeutic areas; lauds the late Professor Ian Donald of the University of Glasgow who, after serving as an RAF medical officer in the Second World War, used the concept of adapting radar and sonar technology for medical use to invent this revolutionary technique; recognises the essential contribution of Tom Brown, whose creative technical expertise and collaboration with Donald and others made it possible for this application of ultrasound to be developed, and notes the calls for the Scottish Government to support efforts to encourage the country’s museums and others in Almond Valley and across the country in recognising the importance of the obstetric ultrasound scanner and its place in the nation’s industrial design, invention and innovation history and heritage.


Angela Constance (Almond Valley) (SNP)

This year is the 60th anniversary of the publication of a landmark paper that highlighted to the medical world the possibilities of ultrasound. It is my great privilege to lead tonight’s debate, which recognises the importance of that groundbreaking work to Scotland’s heritage in innovation and to the countless millions of people across the globe who have benefited from that advancement in medical technology and which celebrates and pays tribute to the truly remarkable individuals who made it possible.

Tonight, we have more than 20 very special guests in the public gallery, some of whom were directly involved in that work; others are family, friends and supporters of those who are no longer with us. I am very pleased to welcome Professor Dugald Cameron, John Fleming, the family of engineer Tom Brown, who has now retired from public life, and the family and friends of the late Professor Ian Donald. [Applause.] We also have with us representatives of the University of Glasgow—a centre of medical excellence—and the Glasgow School of Art, which has been at the forefront of design in manufacturing for more than 170 years.

It is a little-known fact that the ultrasound scanner was invented, pioneered and built in Glasgow. The first commercially produced ultrasonic scanner in the world was called the diasonograph and was manufactured by Kelvin & Hughes in Glasgow. The Hunterian museum still has the original prototypes. The first women to benefit from that design and the safe, non-invasive imaging technique were at Glasgow’s Yorkhill hospital in the 1960s. Today, it is entirely routine for pregnant women to receive an ultrasound scan, but we should not forget that ultrasound scanning has been one of the most important developments for the health and wellbeing of women and their babies in the past 50 years or so.

If the Presiding Officer will indulge me for a moment, I have brought to Parliament the first photograph of my son. This scan provided me—then a 37-year-old first-time mother—with much comfort and reassurance in advance of his arrival; a healthy heartbeat and the sight of a little fist raised in defiance were a sign of things to come.

The year 2018 marks the 60th anniversary of the 1958 publication in The Lancet of the seminal paper by Donald, MacVicar and Brown that paved the way for advancements in the care of pregnant women and a tool for diagnosing a plethora of conditions in men, women and children. That globally significant breakthrough has been used to perform 8.7 million scans annually in the United Kingdom alone, and it took a unique collaboration between experts in clinical obstetrics, engineering, electronics and industrial design. Whose were the minds behind that world-changing invention?

The use of ultrasonics for obstetrics was developed by the late Professor Ian Donald of the University of Glasgow. While serving as a Royal Air Force medical officer in the second world war, he became interested in the possibilities of adapting radar and sonar technology for medical diagnosis. He worked with a talented young engineer—Tom Brown at Kelvin & Hughes—and Dr John MacVicar, a dedicated obstetrician and researcher. The three men published their findings in The Lancet, in the 1958 paper entitled “Investigation of Abdominal Masses by Pulsed Ultrasound”. They reported on the first two experimental machines and, unlike earlier attempts, the Glasgow experiments and trials worked well.

I do not think that the achievements of Professor Donald and others have been fully acknowledged. It was Professor Dugald Cameron who brought their untold story to my attention through a chance encounter courtesy of my friend Mike Russell. I am grateful to Professor Cameron, who explained to me the magic of that collaboration, with its interactions and interdependencies.

Professor Ian Donald knew what ultrasound had been used for during the war and was inspired—and, I suspect, driven—to find a way to adapt it for use in obstetrics and gynaecology. Dr John MacVicar, who was then working in a fledgling national health service, knew that women—particularly those from poorer backgrounds—were often given no option but to put up with gynaecological problems for years on end. However, in order to develop the product, the medics needed the technical and creative expertise of the engineers—in particular, Tom Brown, who made it possible. Dugald Cameron, who was then a young design student, worked with Tom Brown on the design aspects. Professor Cameron told me that, otherwise, the machine was going to look like a gun turret, which would have been rather off-putting for expectant mothers. John Fleming did much of the electronic development of the diasonograph.

In the 1960s, the company that made the original machines withdrew the product and the technology went on to be developed elsewhere. Nonetheless, that is still a part of Scotland’s story, and there is much to learn from it. I am, therefore, delighted that the Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Tourism and External Affairs is responding on behalf of the Government tonight. My motion calls for greater encouragement for Scotland’s excellent museums and other institutions to do more to shine a light on the remarkable story of the ultrasound scanner, which is an invention of global significance. I have written to the Victoria and Albert museum and others, but I seek the cabinet secretary’s input on what more can be done to showcase the work as part of our heritage in innovation, invention and industrial design. We should take great pride in that life-changing work and celebrate the achievements of those who made it possible, inspiring our children with the fact that knowledge and ideas from Scotland can be transported all over the world and that their ideas and their knowledge can change the world around them.

The development of ultrasound should not be one of Scotland’s best-kept secrets. Therefore, let the Parliament record that Donald, MacVicar, Brown, Cameron and Fleming—no doubt ably assisted by many others—have, over generations, made a contribution to this country and beyond that can be summed up only as a gift to humanity.

The Deputy Presiding Officer

As I often do, I gently say to people in the public gallery that they should not applaud. That is not permitted in the chamber, although members may do so.


Stewart Stevenson (Banffshire and Buchan Coast) (SNP)

As members know, I often speak about my own experiences and people in my family. My father, too, invented something for understanding what was going on in the womb. Being a general practitioner, he had an aluminium ear trumpet thing that he could use to listen to what was going on. His patients found it terribly cold and uncomfortable on their bellies, so my father, with his whittling knife and a bit of wood, made a wooden version of it that was much more comfortable for his patients. That was his contribution to solving that particular problem, but it hardly bears any comparison whatsoever to the deployment of electronics and ultrasound to understand what is going on in the womb.

My mother, who gave birth to me long before the establishment of the national health service, had an ectopic pregnancy before I was born and, therefore, when I was born, had only one fallopian tube. Therefore, the whole issue of the maternity services that my father gave was an important part of what he found himself doing.

In a sense, that is relatively unimportant. The more important thing is what the invention that we are discussing has contributed to safe pregnancy and to the health of women and their offspring. The sonar background came from the war, as did the radar technology—my professor of natural philosophy when I was at university was RV Jones, who is the guy who was responsible for the UK’s radar programme, which sprung from the same kind of stable.

Along with the ability to see what is going on in the womb and to gather a lot of information about a child before it is born, we are presented with some ethical problems. One of the great things about the medical profession is that we have seen the development of an ethical framework that makes sure that we use that information in an appropriate way that helps the youngsters and their mothers.

Of course, it is often the case that the ultrasound procedure reveals how many children are in the womb. Often, the little black-and-white fuzzy photographs are the first indication that members of the family have that there will be another one joining them. It is an absolutely fabulous thing. There is supposed to be an X-ray of me in my mother’s womb—given her history, that is not surprising—but, unfortunately, I have never seen it, and it will have long since gone.

It is a delight that we have with us in the public gallery today some people who are responsible for the development of ultrasound. Inventors, designers and artists are people with whom I feel a lot of sympathy, given my background. If only I had invented something that was as useful as ultrasound.

We have heard that the design of the machine was adapted to make it more friendly for the pregnant mother. That is important because we are sometimes accused of overmedicalising pregnancy. A piece of equipment that looks like a bit of engineering kit is hardly going to help the peace of mind of the mother. Therefore, designing something that looks friendly and might be the right colours, for example, is a good thing.

Of course, the technology of ultrasound is now used for many other conditions beyond pregnancy, including heart issues, which might be an area that is important to me as I gain in age, and issues affecting many of the organs of the body, so men, too, are benefiting from ultrasound.

It is simply a bit of a sadness that Glasgow did not manage to hang on to ultrasound, but we had our own stake in inventing and starting it, and I congratulate all those in the public gallery who were involved in its development. Of course, I also congratulate my colleague on bringing the debate to the chamber tonight.


Miles Briggs (Lothian) (Con)

I thank Angela Constance for bringing the debate to Parliament and I welcome those who have joined us in the public gallery this evening.

I am pleased to take part in today’s debate to mark the 60th anniversary of the ultrasound scanner. I believe strongly that we should remember and celebrate our proud medical history in Scotland and celebrate the medical discoveries and innovations that have had such an important, significant and positive influence in medicine and medical innovation across the rest of the world. That is what drives our scientists, our medical minds and our innovators of today, as they look to the future of medicine.

Ultrasound is a prime example of an invention here in Scotland that has benefited millions of people over the world since its inception. There is an old saying that necessity is the mother of invention. That is true with ultrasound. At the time, X-ray was being used to examine unborn babies, and tests found that that led to a higher risk of leukaemia and other cancers in the early lives of the children. The development of ultrasound was a revolutionary new procedure, using high-frequency sound waves to create an image and causing no harm to the foetus.

As is often the case with new inventions, the right combination of people and factors needed to be in place. As we have heard, that was the case in Glasgow during the 1950s for ultrasound. Ian Donald had served as a medical officer in the Royal Air Force during the second world war and had become interested in the potential of using radar and sonar technology for medical purposes. In 1954, Ian Donald became Professor of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at the University of Glasgow. There was still large-scale shipbuilding in Glasgow, and ultrasonic techniques were used to test for flaws in the metal parts of ships. Donald realised he could replicate those techniques, and he teamed up with engineer Tom Brown, who worked for the Glasgow-based manufacturing firm Kelvin and Hughes, which produced ultrasonic testing equipment.

As Angela Constance has already said, Dugald Cameron, an industrial designer in his third year at the Glasgow School of Art, was commissioned to design what was to become the Lund machine. Initially, it was used to distinguish uterine cysts from solid tumours, but it has come a long way since then. It is a procedure that is used every day, is completely safe and is now used to monitor babies in the womb and diagnose conditions, and by surgeons for certain procedures. Let us not forget how ultrasound has also benefited the animal world, with similar medical developments for veterinary surgeons. My colleague John Scott may mention that later.

Scotland continues its long tradition of leading in the field of ultrasound to this day. Advances in software and hardware have transformed the level of detail that is available in an ultrasound scan. From the early days of a grainy two-dimensional image on a screen, we can now generate a three-dimensional image on a high-definition display, or even use ultrasound scans as the basis for a three-dimensional printed model. Not far from here, Canon Medical Research Europe is developing new innovations in the field of ultrasound, from making a three-dimensional print model of a baby’s face to making life easier for surgeons by combining magnetic resonance imaging and other scans with real-time ultrasound images during surgery. In addition, as in so many other fields, artificial intelligence and machine learning herald new opportunities for ultrasound in the future, improving our ability to detect and identify medical issues and begin treatment at the earliest possible stage.

It is important to pay tribute today to Professor Ian Donald, engineer Tom Brown, Professor Dugald Cameron and John Fleming for their contributions to this ground-breaking innovation. One interesting point from the history of ultrasound, which is not mentioned in the motion, is that Professor Donald discovered the equipment when he started working at Babcock and Wilcox in Renfrew, where an industrial version of ultrasound was being used. By refining that machinery and building the understanding of what the human body looked like when viewed with ultrasound, Professor Donald, together with all the others, including those who are mentioned in the motion, created the foundations of the ultrasound scanner that we know today.

It might be hard for some people to believe that, out of a visit to a boilermaker beside the Clyde, we can now give parents-to-be a detailed model of their child’s face before birth. However, it is not difficult if one knows a little about Scotland’s proud tradition of innovation and invention. We should rightly be proud that Scotland, having played such an important role in the origins of obstetric ultrasound, continues to imagine, innovate and create the next generation of this fantastic technology.


David Stewart (Highlands and Islands) (Lab)

I congratulate Angela Constance on securing the debate and for her comprehensive and interesting speech. I also warmly welcome to the gallery all our VIP guests, and hope that they enjoy this evening’s proceedings.

The ultrasound scanner, as we have heard, is just one of many important and groundbreaking inventions by Scots over the generations—even if we do not include Stewart Stevenson’s father, who is a proud inventor. Members will be well aware of the list of inventions, including tubular steel, the telephone, radar and, of course, insulin for the treatment of diabetes, which is a cause that is close to my heart as chair of the cross-party group on diabetes.

In passing, I will take a moment to mention my campaign, in the competition that was launched by the Bank of England, to get Professor John Macleod from Aberdeen—a Scot who shared the 1923 Nobel prize with Frederick Banting for their discovery of insulin at the University of Toronto in 1921—to be the scientist who is featured on the face of the new £50 note. If members have other scientists in mind, including any who have been mentioned this evening, I suggest that they get their skates on, because the deadline is in just a few weeks. It would be fantastic if we could have a Scot featured on the new £50 note—not that it is a note that I am very familiar with, Presiding Officer.

As we have heard, ultrasound scans use sound waves with frequencies far higher than humans can hear. Those sounds echo on tissue: different tissues reflect the waves in different ways, and the echo patterns are then displayed as an image.

The use of ultrasound extends to farming. Only this morning, Emma Harper was telling me that it is used in Dumfries and Galloway to detect pregnancy in sheep. We gather bits of new information every day in this place.

Compared with other forms of medical imaging, it has the benefit of being risk free. It shows images in real time and the equipment can be portable and lower in cost that other imaging. Emma Harper also told me about the importance for first responders of mobile ultrasound scanners. That is a recent initiative that can save lives, especially in remote locations such as are in my constituency of the Highlands and Islands.

As members have mentioned, the origin of ultrasound is a war setting: during the second world war, it was used to see U-boats far under the ocean. In effect, we have moved from war to ward in a few generations.

As we have heard, Professor Ian Donald was the first to suggest the use of ultrasound for obstetrics and gynaecology. Unfortunately, the company that produced the first machine withdrew it and the technology ended up being developed elsewhere. As others have said, it is a real shame that Glasgow did not get the recognition that it deserved for being at the forefront of this invention.

The first thought in many minds when we mention ultrasound is of its use during pregnancy, which has revolutionised prebirth scans for checking the baby’s health, as well as allowing many happy parents a first sight of their child.

Ultrasound scans come in many forms, not the least of which are echocardiograms, which are vital for doctors in checking the functioning of a heart. As a risk-free and easy method, ultrasound is especially important for checking on the heart health of newborn babies and of vulnerable children.

Another area that has not been mentioned, but has recently been touched on in The BMJ, is that ultrasound can be used for detecting, through brain scans, the type of dementia that a patient is suffering from, which is absolutely vital for their future care.

We in Scotland have always been pioneers of new invention. The Scottish enlightenment, with its outpouring of intellectual and scientific accomplishments, might have been in the 18th and 19th centuries, but our ability to innovate has certainly not ended.

I offer my congratulations to the professors who revolutionised ultrasound, and I thank the doctors, nurses and other medical staff in our NHS who use it every day for the health of our nation.

Ultrasound is an example of diversification—a product that was used in war has become a lifesaver that is used in peace. It was a true “swords into ploughshares” moment.


Kenneth Gibson (Cunninghame North) (SNP)

I congratulate my colleague Angela Constance on securing the debate, because I am always grateful for the opportunity to celebrate Scotland’s proud history of invention and innovation. Ultrasound really is something to celebrate. I, too, welcome our distinguished guests to the gallery.

For many women, it would be hard to imagine going through a pregnancy without seeing that first memorable glimpse of their baby, as Angela Constance highlighted earlier. An ultrasound scan is a pregnancy milestone for many women, and is a special moment that can be shared with loved ones. However, as Angela Constance’s motion highlights, the iconic black-and-white images of the developing foetus are a relatively recent invention. Just 60 years ago, pregnancy screening was a very different experience.

Prior to the obstetric ultrasound scanner, doctors had only a stethoscope or, in the case of Dr Stevenson, a wooden horn, to assess a pregnancy and to listen to a baby’s heart. A tape was used to measure fundal height and to check that the baby was growing, which provided a very limited idea of what was going on inside the womb, and gave no information on foetal anatomy, placenta location or anomalies, accurate foetal measurement or foetal wellbeing. It did not provide many more details that we take for granted with modern medicine.

It is often difficult to know when some developments in medicine began, because projects evolve in tandem and they intersect, but with ultrasound in obstetrics and gynaecology there is no such doubt. It had a very definite beginning. All developments of ultrasound diagnosis—or sonography—in obstetrics and gynaecology date from the breakthrough in publication of the seminal research paper by Ian Donald, John MacVicar, and Tom Brown, “The investigation of abdominal masses by pulsed ultrasound”, in 1958. Angela Constance’s motion refers to the contribution of the late Professor Ian Donald to the publication; it is right that his legacy is being celebrated here today. Described in his time as a “tall, charismatic redhead”, Professor Donald was regarded as a generous and principled man who worked tirelessly to achieve his goals. Some medical historians credited his work ethic to his severe rheumatic heart disease, which made every moment precious to him.

Armed with some knowledge of radar technology, which he learned in the Royal Air Force, Donald began working with his fellow Glasgow obstetrician, Dr John MacVicar, and engineers Tom Brown and John Fleming. With help from Kelvin Hughes, which is a Glasgow engineering firm, they developed the world’s first contact compound two-dimensional ultrasound scanning machine, which was called the dinosaurograph—or, perhaps, the Diasonograph, as Angela Constance called it. We will have to discuss that later, but I am convinced that “dinosaurograph” sounds right.

At the heart of the ground-breaking collaboration was a young industrial designer from Glasgow called Dugald Cameron, who, I am pleased to say, is one of my constituents and is in the gallery today. Professor Cameron first heard of the project when a student in the year below told him about the work that her brother-in-law, Tom Brown, was involved in. The first outline drawings were done while lying on the floor in Tom Brown’s flat and were progressed in the industrial design studio in the east-end basement of the Glasgow School of Art’s Mackintosh building. That first invention bore little resemblance to the technology that we would recognise today. It was eight feet high and occupied as much as one third of the scanning room, so operating the probe required no small physical effort. Perhaps unkindly deemed the “dinosaurograph” by some colleagues, the early machine undoubtedly laid the groundwork for many new and improved versions.

In Professor Cameron’s words,

“This particular technology is used internationally”.

He quite rightly encourages us all to take pride in the contribution that Glasgow and Scotland have made to the lives of the 8.7 million people in the UK alone who benefit from the technology each year. We heard from David Stewart and Miles Briggs about the myriad uses of ultrasound, other than in pregnancy. We must also mention its undoubted global impact.

I echo Angela Constance’s call to our museums and educational institutions to recognise the importance of not only the obstetric ultrasound scanner, but of all Scotland’s rich heritage of design, invention and innovation. No doubt, Donald, Brown, MacVicar, Cameron and Fleming were influenced by the spirit of the Scottish enlightenment, which is the basis of our broad general education system that is committed to excellence and quality. Scotland’s great contribution to medicine and science should never be forgotten. I hope that by teaching young people about the achievements of their predecessors, they will be inspired to push towards the next great innovation, whatever it might be.


John Scott (Ayr) (Con)

I declare an interest as a livestock farmer.

I congratulate Angela Constance on securing today’s debate. Along with others, I pay tribute to Professor Ian Donald, John MacVicar, Tom Brown, Dugald Cameron and John Fleming. To say that the use of ultrasound in scanning techniques has been one of the great inventions of my lifetime is a statement of fact and not an exaggeration in any way. Today, the Parliament must take the opportunity to mark this massive Scottish achievement.

Professor Ian Donald’s pioneering work is credited with inventing the technique, which has so benefited mankind. As other members have said, more than 8.7 million scans take place annually in the UK, and many tens of millions more are carried out worldwide. Today, however, I pay tribute to Dugald Cameron, who was at the heart of making that early equipment work, and I welcome him and others to the public gallery.

Dugald is, I believe, the only one of the early pioneering team alive today. I have known him for at least 15 years, and had always believed his passions to be aircraft, trains and painting. I was unaware until recently of his part in developing ultrasound scanning techniques. He is one of the most modest men that one will ever meet, but also one of the most talented, so it comes as no real surprise to me to learn that he had a hand in developing ultrasound.

Ultrasound scanning has played a large part in my life as a farmer—I was an early adopter of ultrasound scanning of pregnant sheep and cattle. If tens of millions of people globally are scanned for a variety of medical reasons, members can be assured that many tens of millions of sheep, cattle, horses, dogs, cats, pigs and other animals are also scanned. The invention has not only hugely benefited human health but massively enhanced livestock production techniques and veterinary medicine.

I am privileged to know Dugald Cameron and to have benefited personally from the scanning techniques that he and others developed. I commend the motion to Parliament.


The Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Tourism and External Affairs (Fiona Hyslop)

I am delighted to respond to the debate on behalf of the Government. I congratulate Angela Constance on securing the debate and on an excellent opening speech.

The motion is on the 60th anniversary of ultrasound—a technology that, as we have heard, was pioneered here in Scotland through the remarkable work of the late Professor Ian Donald, Professor Dugald Cameron and others.

Ultrasound has revolutionised the care of women during pregnancy in Scotland and is now a firmly established part of routine care. It is usually performed when a woman first attends an antenatal clinic and again at 18 to 22 weeks. Although women often perceive the scan appointment as exciting and an opportunity to see their baby for the first time, the role of the ultrasound has moved from being a simple confirmation of a single or multiple pregnancy in the right place to a complex diagnostic tool that is able—as we have heard—to screen for a number of conditions without increasing the risk to mother or baby. In combination with Doppler technology, ultrasound is now able to better assess the wellbeing of the baby by assessing the blood flow through the placenta. That has enabled obstetricians to pick up more accurately when a baby needs to be born early, thus improving outcomes for babies in Scotland. I recall, with my first pregnancy, the reassurances that I was given in late pregnancy as a result of the use of ultrasound.

Ultrasound is often thought of only in relation to pregnancy, but it has a much wider application across all aspects of medicine, from supplemental breast screening to cardiology and gastroenterology.

It is safe to say that the technology has changed our approach to the health and wellbeing of women across the globe. It is hugely important: it provides women with reassurance and can allay their concerns at various points in their pregnancy by helping to detect anomalies at an early stage and, thereafter, by assessing the on-going situation of the unborn baby.

As I said, ultrasound has a much wider application in medicine, and will continue to increase in scope as the technology to transmit images on smaller devices becomes more freely available. That offers scope to expand its use throughout our remote communities.

As members have heard, ultrasound was developed as a diagnostic tool more than 60 years ago as the result of a collaboration involving experts in clinical obstetrics, engineering and industrial design. Together, Professor Donald, Dr MacVicar, Tom Brown, Professor Cameron and John Fleming created the first prototypes and production models of ultrasound scanners for obstetric scanning in hospitals.

I highlight a slightly overlooked part of the story, which is the role of Rottenrow. The famous maternity unit has made Glasgow synonymous with major developments in obstetrics, including Professor Donald’s development of ultrasound scanning. I understand that, in one of its earliest incarnations, the early ultrasound scanner was wheeled around the corridors of the maternity unit at Rottenrow by a fellow pioneer called Dr James Willocks. My mother was a midwife there in the early 60s. She worked with Professor Donald and remembers him well. She received a silver pen for winning the anaesthetic prize, at the time of the early use of Entonox.

The collaboration between Donald, MacVicar, Brown and Cameron was the productive fusion of academic endeavour and innovative practical design. It is fitting that we are celebrating the 60th anniversary of ultrasound in the same year in which we have witnessed the opening of the V&A Dundee, which, as well as showcasing and encouraging contemporary design, celebrates Scotland’s design heritage and everything that has been done in that field by Scots at home and across the world. Although the curatorial independence of museums means that the Government cannot tell them what to exhibit, I will draw the attention of our museums across Scotland to this debate and story

Design is the application of creativity; it is a way to understand the world and how to change it for the better. It is about form, function, problem solving and innovation. In the history of the early development of the ultrasound scanner, it is clear how academic innovation and design creativity combined to help to change the world for the better. I was pleased to note that the importance of ultrasound has been widely recognised. The media’s considered and welcome recognition and coverage of the 60th anniversary has included excellent broadcasts on Radio Scotland, BBC Radio 4’s “Today” programme and BBC Scotland.

It is right that we acknowledge and celebrate the pioneering work that led to the development of modern ultrasound technology, and I am glad that the motion refers to how Scotland’s museums can help to promote this inspiring story. I am happy to report that the first commercially produced ultrasound scanner, which was based on the prototype machine called the Diasonograph—I am sure that we will get the correct pronunciation of that at the end of the debate—can be found in the National Museum of Scotland, where it is on display in the Scotland: a changing nation gallery. The original prototype ultrasound machine is on display separately in the Hunterian museum in its permanent exhibition “A Healing Passion”. I encourage members to visit those museums to look at the machines that have helped to change the lives of so many women.

In addition to the ultrasound machines, material that relates to Tom Brown’s work on the scanner has been donated by his family to Glasgow city archive. The British Medical Ultrasound Society holds a historical collection that is based in Glasgow, and historical documents relating to the history of the ultrasound are held in the archives of the Mitchell library in Glasgow, with items from its collection on display at the Queen Margaret hospital. The heritage of this remarkable story from Scotland’s medical and design history is being collected, preserved and made available for the public to see. It is from those acts of collection and preservation that the public can continue to celebrate and appreciate this remarkable story.

The ultrasound scanner is now a standard feature in hospitals wards, where scanning technology has made pregnancy safer, and it has allowed for more accurate detection and treatment of fetal abnormality. In short, it has become an indispensable non-invasive diagnostic tool. Scotland can be proud of the extraordinary legacy of the ultrasound scanner, which has done so much for the health and wellbeing of women and unborn children throughout the world. That legacy inspires us today, and I am sure that it will continue to inspire generations to come. To Professor Dugald Cameron, who is in the public gallery, I say on behalf of the Parliament and the people of Scotland that we salute you and all your colleagues. You have not just changed the face of Scotland; you have changed the world.

The Deputy Presiding Officer

I thank members for very interesting speeches; I have learned a lot.

Meeting closed at 17:43.