NHS Grampian takes on three new surgical robots in £3.5 million investment

NHS Grampian has welcomed three new surgical robots as part of a £3.5 million investment.

Picture: NHS Grampian
Picture: NHS Grampian

The health board, which was the first to introduce robotic-assisted surgery in 2015, has acquired two da Vinci Xi robots for general surgery at Aberdeen Royal Infirmary, and one Mako robotic-arm assisted surgery system for hip and knee replacements at Woodend Hospital.

The first da Vinci robot, which has been used to treat urology and gynaecology patients since 2015, will now be used for training surgeons.

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Consultant in colorectal and general surgery, Shafaque Shaikh said patients on average have shorter hospital stays following robotic-assisted surgery, and need less pain relief.

Picture: NHS Grampian

“It benefits everyone in the region, as with people in hospital less time, it increases our capacity and allows us to see more patients,” she said.

“This investment, in cutting-edge technology, really ensures we can give our patients the best experience and that myself and my fellow surgeons have the most modern tools available to do our job.

"It also equips us to partner with the University of Aberdeen to develop ground-breaking research, further improving patient care in the future.”

Urology consultant, Justine Royle, said she has seen the advantages of these machines after using one for the last six years.

Picture: NHS Grampian

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She added: “Some patients do still arrive in hospital apprehensive, believing that the machine is doing all the work using artificial intelligence, but the machines are very much controlled by our surgeons – they don’t ‘think’ and operate on their own, it’s no different from a car in that sense, we are fully in control.”

Alan Black, 59, from Aberdeen, was the first patient to be operated on with one of the new machines last week.

“I was operated on with the robot, it’s smaller holes needed, so I think I’m feeling better than I could have otherwise,” he said.

Picture: NHS Grampian

“If anyone is worried about undergoing surgery where a robot is used, there’s nothing to be apprehensive about. The surgeon is still in full control and ultimately it benefits us as patients.”

Deputy chief officer of acute care at NHS Grampian Cameron Matthew said he hoped the investment would allow the health board to develop a regional training centre and specialist robotic division.

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