Robotic assisted surgery to transform care at Bedfordshire Hospitals

Date: 16/05/2023 | Category: General News

Bedfordshire Hospitals has embraced the latest in Robotic Assisted Surgery with the arrival of two da Vinci Xi robots, one at Bedford Hospital and one at Luton & Dunstable University

Firas at the robot's console

Hospital (L&D), which will bring considerable benefits for both patients and staff.

Unlike in many other hospitals in the UK, the two robots will be used across a range of different specialties, treating patients with conditions ranging from bowel and renal cancer to endometriosis, gynaecology, bariatric and biliary surgery, and complex head and neck conditions.

Benefits for patients include reduced post-operative pain, a faster recovery leading to a shorter stay in hospital, and improved quality of life after surgery.

Katherine in theatre with her team and the robotMrs Katharine Bevan, Colorectal Consultant Surgeon and Clinical Lead for Bedfordshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, was the first surgeon to carry out a robotic assisted procedure at Bedford Hospital. She said “This is the beginning of a new era of surgery at Bedfordshire Hospitals and we are tremendously excited to have introduced this new technology and improve the care of our patients.

“19 patients have already benefitted from robotic assisted surgery at Bedford Hospital and the L&D, and are all doing very well. Over the next few months it will be rolled out to the other specialties in the programme.”
Colorectal Surgeon Mr Firas Younis carried out the first procedure at the L&D. He said: “I would like to thank the whole team for their hard work in getting this programme off the ground. It really is an immense achievement! Robotic assisted surgery enables us to perform complex procedures with enhanced precision, dexterity and control. This translates to optimised surgical outcomes for our patients.”Firas in theatre with support staff and the robot

David Carter, Chief Executive of Bedfordshire Hospitals, added: “This is fantastic news for our patients, and will future proof our surgical services – the commitment to innovation, and the training, education and research it brings, will help us retain and attract high calibre staff.”

He added: “We are incredibly grateful to Bedford Hospital Charity and Friends for their energy, enthusiasm and support with spearheading this project at Bedford Hospital, having contributed £900,000 to the cost of the robot which is phenomenal. Our huge thanks also go to Bedfordshire Hospitals NHS Charity which has raised money for the console element of the robot at the L&D.”

Chair of Bedford Hospital Charity & Friends, Debbie Inskip, said,  “Due to the extreme generosity of the community the charity is delighted to be in a strong position to support with the purchase of this robot.”

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  1. The new robotic systems will be used in General Surgery – Colorectal, Upper GI (gastro intestinal) and Bariatrics (Obesity) – Gynaecology, Urology, ENT (Ear Nose and Throat) and OMFS (Oral and Maxillofacial). Our regional Bariatric specialist team will be one of only three centres in the UK using surgical robots.
  2. The robots have four mechanical arms and a surgical instrument attached to each arm, controlled by a surgeon seated at a computer console near the operating table. The console gives the surgeon a magnified high-definition, 3D view of the area, so they can perform complex procedures with more precision, flexibility and control than conventional techniques. The tiny wristed instruments move like a human hand, but with a greater range of motion, allowing surgeons to perform a variety of different procedures, while only making a few small incisions.
  3. All surgeons and their teams go through a comprehensive training course before carrying out robotic assisted surgery with patients. The robot technology and training has been supplied by Intuitive Surgical.
  4. Bedfordshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust is a large general hospital across two sites, Luton and Dunstable University Hospital and Bedford Hospital. The Trust has approximately 1057 inpatient beds across the two sites and provides a comprehensive range of general medical and surgical services, including Emergency Department (ED) and maternity services for people in Luton, Bedfordshire, Hertfordshire and parts of Buckinghamshire. In 2021/22 we provided healthcare services for over 153,000 admitted patients, over 700,000 outpatients and Emergency Department attendees and we delivered more than 8,100 babies.