THE FIRST 50 patients have now undergone prostate cancer treatment using the state-of-the-art robotic surgery at Redditch’s Alexandra Hospital.
The ‘Da Vinci Xi’ robot became the latest addition to the range of high quality elective (planned) surgical services for patients across Worcestershire and beyond when it arrived in September.
The first procedure, now being offered up to three days a week, is robot-assisted surgery for men with prostate cancer.
For those patients where the technique is clinically appropriate, Robotic-Assisted Radical Prostatectomy (RARP) can offer equivalent or potentially better outcomes, less pain, smaller incisions, shorter stays in hospital and an accelerated recovery.
Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust’s Consultant Urologists Paul Rajjayabun, and Adel Makar have undergone extensive training in using the robot. There has also been additional input from expert surgeons from around the UK for the initial period of operating.
Mr Makar said the new service was a key part of the vision to make the Alexandra Hospital a surgical centre of excellence.
“It’s 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 progress of the first tranche of patients who have undergone procedures using the robot since October is being been closely monitored and we are delighted the feedback we have received has reflected high levels of patient satisfaction.”
He added, in the majority of cases, patients had been able to leave hospital the day after their operation whereas in the past it would have been at least three to five days.
Mr Rajjayabun added: “It’s fantastic to see this service up and running after so many years of planning.
“We are very grateful for the generous and dedicated support of all those fund-raisers who helped us get to this point.
“As well as being of huge benefit to our patients, the arrival of the robot has been a great boost for the clinical teams involved whilst also offering excellent development opportunities for our surgical, nursing and theatre staff.
“Innovations such as this make our Trust an even more attractive place to come and work.
“It’s been a real team effort from everyone involved and a great example of how we can work together to improve patient care in Worcestershire.”
Prior to the robot being installed locally, many prostate cancer patients who wanted this type of surgery had to travel long distances out of the county for it. That meant at least 80 to100 patients each year having to travel away from Worcestershire for their robotic operation in other hospitals.
The delivery of the robot followed the upgrade and refurbishment of a dedicated 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.
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 £3.5million in the new service.
Thanks to the generosity of local supporters led by Ian Jukes, Worcestershire Acute Hospitals Charity’s fund-raising appeal in aid of robotic surgery had already raised around £500,000 before plans for the development were paused during the Covid-19 pandemic.