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Trust welcomes £4.5m Da Vinci surgical robots to the team

Two brand new cutting-edge Da Vinci surgical robots have joined the team at the Royal Berkshire NHS Foundation Trust. They will help surgeons at the Trust operate in a minimally invasive way, improving patient care and recovery times.

The two robots – an investment of £4.5 million from NHS England - arrived at the Trust last month, fifty members of staff have already received intensive training to use them, and they are now up and running supporting staff and patients.

Mr Philip Charlesworth, Consultant Urological Surgeon said, “These Da Vinci robots are a welcome addition and will make a big difference. We have been performing robotic surgery at the Royal Berkshire Hospital for 15 years now, but with the addition of these two new latest Da Vinci Xi robots we have expanded and improved what we can offer our patients. These include pioneering surgical techniques to treat prostate cancer, bladder cancer including new bladder reconstruction, colorectal cancer, and other gastrointestinal procedures.

“From a patient’s point of view, robotics make the surgery less invasive, which means the time it takes to recover from surgery and return to a full and active life is reduced. Furthermore in the internationally acclaimed clinical trials we have been involved in over the past few years we have proven that there are less complications and improved patient outcomes by performing the operation robotically. We are delighted to have these latest systems, and the improvement in the quality of care we can offer our patients in Berkshire / South Thames Valley."

They work alongside the surgical teams, with three arms equipped with instruments and a camera capable of 15 times magnification. The surgeon sits at a console operating the robot arms while watching through a 3D monitor.

As well as reduced recovery time, the magnification the robots provide also mean that in the surgeon’s expert hands, surgery can be even more precise.

Janet Lippett, Acting Chief Executive said, “It’s fantastic to see these surgical robots making a difference already. I understand that surgery is always a worry, and we hope that patients are reassured that we are investing to make sure their surgery and recovery goes as smoothly, and quickly as possible.”

The Royal Berkshire NHS Foundation Trust is a European Centre of Excellence for Robotics in Urology. And in the wider Trust there are lots of other instances of technology being used to improve patient care and experience. For example using AI (Artificial Intelligence) to speed up diagnosis in patients with suspected strokes, and a pair of robotic ‘pickers’ in the inpatient pharmacy who support the Pharmacy department to dispense hundreds of prescriptions every day.

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