The use of robots will enable surgeons to perform minimally-invasive surgery, leading to better outcomes and shorter hospital stays for patients
"We are committed to scaling up our robotics programme at speed and believe that having two robotic systems from the outset, which can be easily moved between operating rooms and integrated into existing workflows, will help us achieve this.” Vanash Patel, consultant colorectal surgeon at West Hertfordshire Teaching Hospitals
Watford General Hospital is to install two surgical robots from Versius.
The robots will enable hospital surgeons to carry out operations using minimally-invasive surgical techniques in colorectal, gynaecology, urology and upper gastrointestinal specialities. Minimally-invasive, or keyhole, techniques are safer for patients, but hard for surgeons to learn.
The use of robots will enable more surgeons to perform minimally-invasive surgery, so that more patients will benefit from reduced post-operative pain, blood loss and scarring. Hospital stays will be shorter, reducing the pressure on NHS hospital beds. The ergonomic console is also more comfortable for surgeons, reducing the back pain often associated with minimally-invasive techniques.
Vanash Patel, consultant colorectal surgeon at West Hertfordshire Teaching Hospitals, said: “With Versius, our surgeons will be able to perform complex operations with the enhanced precision and control that robotics offer. We are committed to scaling up our robotics programme at speed and believe that having two robotic systems from the outset, which can be easily moved between operating rooms and integrated into existing workflows, will help us achieve this.”
The Versius robots have the advantage of being easy to move between operating theatres. They also have an open console making it easier for the surgeon and surgical team to communicate with each other.
The trust also hopes the programme will increase staff wellbeing and morale, helping it to attract and retain staff.
The two robotic systems have been designed by CMR Surgical, a global medical devices company. In the last 18 months, Versius robots have been implemented at several trusts and hospitals, including Frimley Health, East Surrey Hospital, Gloucestershire Royal Hospital and Guy’s and St Thomas’. West Hertfordshire Teaching Hospitals is the first to implement two robots, however.
Dr Mark Slack, chief medical officer at CMR Surgical, said: “We know from previous partnerships that as well as providing improved patient outcomes through access to MAS, and a more comfortable quality of working life for surgical teams, an investment in surgical robotics like this will truly put WHTH on the map as a centre for excellence in health technology.”
“The West Hertfordshire Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust pilot with CMR Surgical is an exciting project. Surgical innovation is progressing rapidly and, combined with new ways to visualise surgeries such as virtual reality or 3D printing, it can improve outcomes for patients.
“There is also an opportunity to provide surgery remotely, aided by these robots and expertise that may not be available locally. Incorporating diagnostic information and imaging to robotics setups may also improve the precision of surgeries, reducing complications and loss of function.”
Dr Peter Bloomfield, head of policy and research