Plans to bring state-of-the-art robot assisted surgery to Worcestershire have taken another significant step forward this week with the arrival of the surgical robot on site at the Alexandra Hospital. Robin Walker MP has welcomed the news for the difference it will make to patients across the Worcestershire Acute Trust, including in his Worcester constituency.
The much anticipated and exciting delivery was made on Wednesday afternoon, with engineers working on the construction and installation of the robot at the hospital on Thursday morning.
The delivery of the root follows the upgrade and refurbishment of an operating theatre which included reinforcing the theatre floor to take the weight of the robot as well as upgrading the ventilation system, general refurbishment and redecoration.
Senior clinicians aim to begin providing robotic surgery at the Alexandra later this year with robot-assisted prostate surgery for men with prostate cancer being the first procedure offered.
For those patients who are able to have it, Robotic-assisted Radical Prostatectomy (RARP) can offer equivalent or better outcomes, less pain, shorter stays in hospital and quicker recovery for patients with prostate cancer, which is the most common form of cancer in men.
Currently, any prostate cancer patient from Worcestershire who wants this type of surgery as part of their treatment has to travel out of the county for it. That means around 80 patients a year having to travel away from Worcestershire for their operation.
Worcester MP Robin Walker said:
“I was at the launch of the Rory the Robot campaign some years ago and I’ve attended a number of events to support it over the years in Worcester. I warmly welcome the arrival of a state of the art surgical robot at the Alex and the fact that this will improve outcomes and improve recovery times for prostate cancer patients across the county.
"Having lost my own father to cancer which was first identified as prostate cancer, I want to do everything I can to ensure my constituents and people across the county have access to the best possible care saving lives and prolonging quality of life. Robotic surgery is a proven technology for doing so and it in no way replaces the skilled and dedicated work of surgeons and clinicians, instead it amplifies its success.
"After the success of campaigns to improve breast cancer services at the Royal and secure the oncology centre, the installation of this Robot at the Alex is the next step forward in improving cancer outcomes through the Worcestershire Acute Trust. I know it has taken dedication and determination from campaigners, clinicians, volunteers and the Trust management to secure this and I want to congratulate all of them as well as my neighbour Rachel Maclean on this welcome event.”
Matthew Hopkins, Chief Executive of Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust, says:
“This development is a vital part of our plans for the future of our services and our hospitals and a further demonstration of our commitment to providing the best experience of care and outcomes for our patients.”
The robot is a further addition to the range of high quality elective (planned) surgical services already provided at the hospital for patients from across Worcestershire and beyond.
Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust, which runs the Alexandra as well as Kidderminster Hospital and Treatment Centre and Worcestershire Royal Hospital, is investing more than £3.5 million in the new service. Thanks to the generosity of local supporters, a fundraising appeal in aid of robotic surgery had already raised around £500,000, before plans for the development were paused during the Covid-19 pandemic.